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Samples Of 61 High-Risk Contacts Test Negative, Nipah Situation Under Control: Kerala Health Minister

Kozhikode (Kerala) [India]: Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Monday said no fresh cases of the Nipah virus were reported in the State as 61 samples taken of ‘high-risk’ contacts including healthcare workers tested negative.

She further said that Nipah strain found in Kerala has been identified as the Indian Genotype, or I Genotype, which is similar to the strain found in Bangladesh.

Six cases of the Nipah virus have been so far found in the state of which two persons died while four others, including a nine-year-old boy are under treatment.
The health minister said that ICMR and WHO had conducted studies and found that Kerala and eight other states in India have the probability of Nipah occurrence.

“Also after 2018, we conducted surveillance and we found that the source of Nipah infection is bats. The virus we found in Kerala is identified as Indian Genotype or I Genotype which is similar to the strain found in Bangladesh. We have two strains of Nipah Virus one is Malaysian and the other from Bangladesh,” the Kerala health minister told media.

Addressing reporters here the health minister outlined key developments and strategies put in place in the State after a review meeting to assess the activities in containment zones put in place in the State.

“The 19 core committees formed as part of defence activities are functioning well. The central team is also testing saliva samples from bats. Efforts are also underway to add those left out to the contact list,” she said.

George said that the central team which was in the state to examine disaster preparedness will leave today.

The Health Minister said that the State health department had sought the help of the police to attain mobile tower locations of the deceased. “The mobile tower location has been checked with the help of the police to trace the source of the virus in the first patient,” George said.

The minister also praised the police, saying, “Activities of the police in the containment zone as part of Nipah prevention activities are exemplary.”
The minister further informed that “the police have been informed to report any unusual deaths in the district.”

Minister Veena George also shared reassuring news regarding the health status of those currently under medical care.

“The health condition of the patients currently under treatment is satisfactory. The health condition of the nine-year-old boy who is on a ventilator is improving,” she said.

Earlier, the Kerala Health Minister had informed, “Currently, the situation is under control. There are 352 people on the high-risk contact list. Health workers have intensified prevention activities in places where the Nipah virus has been confirmed.”

“No new cases have been reported at present. The minister informed that the improvement in the child’s health condition is promising. 1,233 people are on the contact list now. Twenty three people have been admitted to the medical college and there are four people in IMCH,” she said.

Samples from 36 bats were collected and sent for testing. House visits have been completed in 34,167 houses as part of Nipah’s precautionary measures to take stock of the situation, she added.

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