First case of Nipah virus confirmed in Kerala: 23-year-old Ernakulam man tested positive; Harsh Vardhan says no need to panic

The first case of Nipah virus fever has been confirmed in Kerala as health minister KK Shailaja announced on Tuesday that a 23-year-old male patient in a hospital in Kochi has tested positive for the infection. The patient who is a resident of Kochi's Ernakulam, and was studying in Idukki, was tested positive in the results that came from the Pune Virology Institute, ANI reported.

However, the health minister said that all necessary precautions and remedial steps to curb the spread of the deadly disease are in place and the patient has been shifted to an isolation ward.

Earlier, two people were suspected to have similar symptoms and currently, around 86 people the patient came in contact with are being observed and asked to take adequate precautionary measures, the health minister said. The patient had travelled with a group of 22 students from Idukki to a company in Thrissur for an internship programme, reports said.

Shailaja said that out of the 86 patients suspected, two were admitted, and two nurses who treated the patient initially have sore throat and fever. Sample of the second patient will also be sent to NIV Alappuzha, Manipal Laboratory and NIV Pune, she said.

 First case of Nipah virus confirmed in Kerala: 23-year-old Ernakulam man tested positive; Harsh Vardhan says no need to panic

File image of Kerala health minister KK Shailaja. ANI

Meanwhile, the Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala who met the health minister earlier on Tuesday also assured of full support to the government in dealing with a possible outbreak of the virus.

Shailaja, after a review meeting at Kalamassery Medical College, had told the media that the patient had been brought to the hospital with fever 10 days ago and was under watch since then. The government has, meanwhile, opened isolation wards at medical colleges in three districts where the patient’s movements have been traced — Ernakulam, Kozhikode and Thrissur.

The health department held an emergency meeting in Kochi. The state also flew in experts who helped tackle the 2018 outbreak in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, including the face of that mission — former principal health secretary Rajeev Sadanandan, livemint reported.

Whereas, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday morning called a meeting at his residence with all the officers including the health secretary. He told the media that the ministry had dispatched a team of six officers to Kerala on Monday itself. "I have assured the Kerala Health Minister of all possible support from the Central government. We are also in touch with the wildlife department to seek their help for subjecting the bats for testing of the virus. I don't think there is any need to panic," Vardhan said.

The virus which spreads from human to human and has a mortality rate of over 70 percent and first appeared in the state in 2018, claiming the lives of 17 people. Among those who died due to it included 31-year-old nurse Lini Puthussery, who contracted the virus after treating a patient at the Perambra taluk hospital.

Following the outbreak, the first ever virology institute in Kerala was opened in Thonnakal, Thiruvananthapuram.

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Updated Date: Jun 04, 2019 12:38:37 IST