‘Better research needed to trace return of Nipah virus’

V.Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on June 06, 2019 Published on June 06, 2019

Health officials in full protective gear inside an isolation ward of Ernakulam Medical College in Kochi on Thursday   -  AFP

Confirmed Nipah patient responding well to treatment

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has called for more research studies to find out reasons for the return of the Nipah virus to the State.

As per information available, fruit bats and pigs are believed to be the carriers of the virus.

Centre’s help sought

But it has to be established at which stage these creatures are spreading it, he told newspersons here at the end of a review meeting on Thursday. The Chief Minister also emphasised the need for joint efforts by the ministries of Animal Husbandry and Agriculture to study the role of fruit bats and pigs as carriers.

He also asked the Centre to extend necessary support for the research work.

Meanwhile, fresh samples sent to the National Virology Institute, Pune, have tested negative for Nipah, bringing relief to the State government.

Blood and body fluid samples were sent to the laboratory in Pune.

Primary tests conducted at the Virology Lab in Alappuzha had also proved negative, according to State Health Minister KK Shailaja, who was also present. Currently, seven persons with symptoms of fever are under observation in the isolation ward and authorities are awaiting the results for one more person from Pune.

They were collected from the persons who had kept close contact with a Nipah virus-affected student, currently undergoing treatment at a private hospital here.

They include two nurses, a nursing assistant, friends of the patient and a relative admitted into the isolation ward of Medical College Kalamassery.

‘No need for panic’

The Health Minister reiterated that there was no need for panic as the situation was under control.

However, she added that high alert declared across the State would continue.

The condition of the college student who confirmed positive for Nipah virus has improved further with the fever subsiding. Medicines imported from Australia have not been used on the patient as his condition is stable now.

Authorities are keeping a close watch on a group of 314 persons who have been in contact with the student at various times.

The Health Minister said that all those quarantined for being in direct or indirect contact with the confirmed case will continue in the isolation ward till the incubation period is over.

According to WHO, the incubation period (interval from infection to the onset of symptoms) is in the range of 4-14 days.

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Published on June 06, 2019
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