THE deadly Nipah virus has resurfaced in Kerala with a 23-year-old male college student confirmed to have this brain damaging disease, a year after it killed 17 people in the State. The State Government while confirming the first case of Nipah virus infection in Kerala this year said four people--three who attended to the student initially and a co-student--were suffering from fever and sore throat and shifted to the isolation ward at the Kalamassery Medical College Hospital in Kochi for a detailed medical examination. In all, 311 people from various districts with whom the student from Ernakulam district had interacted were under observation, it said.
The results of the blood samples of the 23-year-old student, which were tested at the National Institute of Virology in Pune, have confirmed Nipah, State Health Minister K K Shailaja told reporters in Kochi. Earlier, blood samples examined at two virology institutes--Manipal Institute of Virology and Kerala Institute of Virology and Infectious Diseases--indicated Nipah, which is transmitted to humans through direct contact with infected bats, pigs or other people. Shailaja said the condition of the student, who is being treated at a private hospital in Kochi, is stable and he was not put under any support system like ventilator. “Good care is being given to the patient.
The patient sometimes become restless due to fever...We expect a good result,” she said. The health condition of the four students kept in isolation ward is satisfactory, according to authorities. The Government urged people not to panic and to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the infectious disease. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said there was no need to panic as the health network would rise up to the challenge.
The student, who was suffering from fever, had gone to Thrissur district with a group of students to attend a training programme. Extending all assistance to the State Government to deal with the situation, the Centre rushed a six-member team comprising an epidemiologist to Kerala. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also spoke to Shailaja to discuss the current situation and assured all support from the Centre to the State. Health experts from Kozhikode, who have experience in fighting the disease, have reached Kochi to assist the officials here. A control room has also been set up and the Strategic Health Operations Centre (SHOC) of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been activated, phone number for which is 011-23978046.