The Health Minister of Kerala, KK Shailaja has said that the 23-year-old man admitted to a private hospital in Ernakulam is suspected to have contracted the Nipah virus. The student who hails from Ernakulam was studying in Idukki and had been suffering from fever and other symptoms for ten days. He had travelled with a group of 22 students from Idukki to a company in Thrissur for an internship programme. After the programme, the student went back to his house.
With his fever showing no signs of abating, he was admitted to a private hospital in Ernakulam. It is from here that his samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology in Alleppey and Pune.
The health Minister of Kerala KK Shailaja said that the government is awaiting the final results from the Pune institute, but the government was putting preventive measures into place.
“A young man was admitted to a private hospital in Kochi. The government had intervened and sent the sample to NIV in Alleppey and NIV in Pune. NIV Alleppey said that this was suspected to be Nipah, but we cannot be fully sure. We are awaiting results from Pune too,” she said.
She has asked people who are showing any signs of having contracted the Nipah virus to get themselves admitted in a hospital.
Thrissur District Medical Officer Dr KJ Reena said, "The student came to Thrissur on May 21st. He had fever while he came here. After two days consulted doctors in two private hospitals in Thrissur. The infection is only in his head right now, it has not been passed to his respiratory system. An isolation wing has been readied in Thrissur Medical College too."
The virus first broke out in Kerala in May 2018 and claimed the lives of 17 people. It started with 3 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 zero Mohammad Sadiq in Perambra. With a 95 percent 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 Thonnakal, Thiruvananthapuram.