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Nipah outbreak in Kerala: Authorities in Kozhikode postpone re-opening of schools and colleges to 12 June

Kozhikode: The Kerala government on Saturday decided to postpone the re-opening of educational institutions in Kozhikode district to 12 June, besides deferring all examinations, except those conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

Interviews being conducted by the state public service commission have also been postponed. A decision in this regard was taken at a high-level meeting, chaired by state health minister K K Shailaja and additional chief secretary (Health) Rajeev Sadanandan.

Kozhikode: People wear safety masks as a precautionary measure after the 'Nipah' virus outbreak. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Sixteen persons have lost their lives so far to Nipah virus (NiV) in two districts of the state since the confirmation of the deadly virus on 17 May.

"As a precautionary measure, it has been decided to further postpone the re-opening of schools and colleges and holding of examinations," Shailaja said. An all-party meeting will be held at Thiruvananthapuram on Monday to review the situation, she added.

The Kerala health minister said the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ramesh Chennithala had also enquired about the situation following the outbreak of the deadly virus.

"Now, the effort is to prevent a second wave of the infection and, therefore, extreme caution has to be exercised. A list of 1,950 persons, who had come in contact with confirmed NiV cases, has been prepared and they are being closely monitored", Shailaja explained.

In the morning, the death of a 39-year-old woman, Roja, who showed symptoms of the virus, cause a scare. But, her blood samples were found to be negative, the state health minister said, stressing the need to remain extremely vigilant even though there were no fresh cases.

Sadanandan, meanwhile, said the monoclonal antibodies (MAB) from Australia had reached the state and was on its way to Kozhikode medical college from Kochi. It will be administered only if there will be any fresh Nipah cases.

Experts from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) — the apex body in the country for the formulation, coordination, and promotion of biomedical research — will be reaching here on Monday and the antibody will be administered only if it will be necessary. With the help of ICMR and the World Health Organisation (WHO), the state government has procured about 50 doses of monoclonal antibodies from Australia to combat the virus, he added.

The ICMR had written to the Queensland government in Australia asking it to provide the antibody developed there to test if it can neutralise the virus in humans. The natural host of the virus is believed to be fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus.

Updated Date: Jun 02, 2018 17:22 PM

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