Six persons who were suspected to have symptoms of the Nipah virus have now been cleared after their samples tested negative. This was announced by Health Minister KK Shailaja on Thursday after their samples came out clear by the National Institute of Virology in Pune.
The samples of these suspected cases had earlier tested negative for Nipah at the NIV laboratory in Alappuzha. However, the state government sent it to Pune for a final confirmation. Shailaja, however, said that the six persons under observation will not be discharged as yet. She also announced that the samples of the seventh person who is under observation will be sent for testing on Thursday.
Seven people were placed under observation as they were suspected of having shown symptoms of Nipah. These include three nurses who treated the 23-year-old patient, his friend and another unconnected person from Chalakudy who exhibited symptoms of the virus.
Samples including blood, urine and throat swab were sent to three institutes for testing - NIV Alappuzha, NIV Pune and Manipal laboratory. The Kerala government was waiting for a final confirmation from Pune before declaring if a patient is tested positive or negative for the virus.
As on Thursday, one confirmed case of Nipah has been reported in Kerala. The patient is a 23-year old man from Ernakulam who has been admitted to the isolation ward of a private hospital in Ernakulam.
On the patient’s condition, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said his condition has improved, with the 23-year-old taking food.
Around 314 people have been put on the contact list for Nipah virus. These persons are those who were in direct or indirect contact with the patient at any point of time in the last three weeks. As of 5 pm on Wednesday 149 people on this list had been contacted and 165 are pending.
“We have the phone numbers and addresses of all the people on the contact list. Among the 149 contacted, we got full data of 35 people whereas partial details for the remaining 94. It will be completely collected by Thursday. Among the 35 people whose full details have been received, three of them are in the 'high risk' category," said Principal Secretary Health Dr Rajan N Khobragade.