It has been confirmed that a 23-year-old man who had been admitted to a private hospital in Ernakulam on May 30, has contracted the Nipah virus. The confirmation has come in from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. The Kerala government had sent the student’s samples to NIV in Alappuzha and Pune. While NIV Alappuzha had said that the student could have contracted Nipah, the government was waiting for a confirmation from NIV in Pune.
Health Minister KK Shailaja said, "The confirmation came in today morning. But there is no need to panic. From the time we suspected this was Nipah, we have put all measures into place." The patient is now stable.
The Health Minister also added that two nurses who treated the patient in the hospital have also complained of a slight discomfort in their throat. "We have started giving them the necessary treatment as well," she said.
The student who hails from Ernakulam was studying in Idukki and had been suffering from fever and other symptoms for more than ten days. He had travelled with a group of 22 students from Idukki to a company in Thrissur for an internship programme. In between, he was down with fever and was taken to a private hospital in Ernakulam. Later, he was taken to another hospital from where his samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and Alappuzha.
Even before the confirmation from NIV in Pune, the Kerala government had put into place preventive measures. The government had traced the 22 students who had travelled with the 23-year-old and kept them under observation. Five others who stayed with the student in Idukki, his family, and others who had been in contact with him were also traced, various District Medical Officers had informed the media.In total, 86 persons, who were said to have interacted with the patient, have been put under medical observation.
While the government had sent an alert to District Collectors on Sunday, cough corners have been set up across hospitals in Kerala. Isolation wards have been arranged in Medical Colleges in Thrissur, Ernakulam and Kozhikode.
Speaking to TNM, Pathanamthitta District Medical Officer said, "All government and private hospitals have been asked to send in a report of the list of patients suffering from respiratory distress and fever which is related to the brain. We have also created cough centers in hospitals – a patient coming with a cough or fever need not wait in crowded OP in the hospital. Instead they are taken into the casualty.”
A control room has been set up by the district administration in Ernakulam to clear all apprehensions about the virus. Public have been advised to call 1077 to clear doubts if any.
The virus first broke out in Kerala in May 2018 and claimed the lives of 17 people. It started with three people of the same family from Perambra in Kozhikode exhibiting similar symptoms. Among those who passed away included 31-year-old nurse Lini Puthussery, who contracted the virus after treating patient Mohammad Sadiq in Perambra. With a 75% death rate, Nipah is one of the deadliest viruses to have spread in Kerala in recent memory. Following the outbreak, the first ever virology institute in the state was opened in Thonnakkal, Thiruvananthapuram.
Note: Nipah control room numbers are 1077 and 1056. Call at any time for any matter related to the virus.