Thrissur/Kochi: An expert team has started inspections in the area where the youth who is undergoing treatment for Nipah lived. The place is in Thrissur while the youth is admitted to a hospital in Kochi.
The checking is in a 5-km radius of his house in Thrissur. The special expert team comprises officials from the Animal Husbandry Department and Veterinary University.
As many as 27 people are under observation in Thrissur district after Nipah was confirmed. While 17 of them are men, the others are women. One person complained of some physical discomfort but it is not a serious matter, said district medical officer Dr K G Reena.
Meanwhile, Minister A C Moideen said that there was no need to postpone the school reopening in the background of these developments. Schools are scheduled to reopen on June 6 after the summer vacation.
Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja confirmed Tuesday morning that the 23-year-old college student who had been admitted to a private hospital in Kochi with fever is infected with the Nipah virus.
The confirmatory report came from the National Institute of Virology, Pune. While some of the symptoms were confirmed earlier, more results from tests of his samples has given a clearer picture.
Four people, including two nurses involved in the treatment of the student is believed to have contracted the virus.
The state health minister urged everyone who has symptoms to seek treatment immediately. 86 people who have come in contact with the youth after he contracted the virus had been placed under observation. The minister also pointed out that the virus will spread from person to person only when the symptoms begin to manifest (usually after the thirteenth day of contracting the virus) and not prior to that.
The minister had earlier cautioned the media to not publish stories that would incite panic among the public. A control room has been set up where assistance can be sought by calling the numbers 1077 and 1056.
The minister said medicines brought from Australia are available in the National Virology Institute. A team from the institute with Monoclonal antibodies is being sent to Ernakulam.
The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan has confirmed to the state minister that the centre will provide all the assistance needed for bringing the disease under control. A six-member expert committee consisting of epedimiologists, scientists and other experts has arrived in Kerala to examine the situation in the state. A control room and NCDC Strategic Health Operations Centre (SHOC) has also been opened in Delhi for dealing with the Nipah scare. The phone number of the control room is 011-23978046.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala has also promised cooperation to the government in all matters related to the matter.
Isolation wards have been opened in Kochi, Kozhikode and Thrissur medical colleges.
Govt closely monitoring Nipah virus situation: Pinarayi
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government was taking precautionary actions and closely monitoring the situation.
"The government is closely monitoring the current situation," Pinarayi said in a Facebook post and urged everyone to follow the instructions of the Health department.
"No one needs to be afraid. Be alert. The Health department is all set to face any situation," he said.
The chief minister also asked people not to indulge in fake campaigns about the Nipah virus on social media.
Officials said the family and neighbours of the young man, who hails from Ernakulam district were also under observation as was a privatecollege in Thodupuzha in Idukki district, where the student is studying.
In a statement, Ernakulam District Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla said usual medical examinations were carried out on patients coming with the symptoms of Nipah virus.
Last year, Nipah virus had claimed 17 lives in Kerala - 14 in Kozhikode and three in neighbouring Malappuram district.
According to the WHO, Nipah virus is a newly emerging disease that can be transmitted from its reservoir (natural wildlife host), the flying foxes (fruit bats), to both animals and humans.
It takes its name from Sungai Nipah, a village in Malaysia where it was first identified.
Human infections can range from asymptomatic infection, acute respiratory infection (mild, severe), and fatal encephalitis.
Infected people initially develop influenza-like symptoms of fever, headache, myalgia, vomiting and sore throat. This can be followed by dizziness, drowsiness, altered consciousness, and neurological signs that indicate acute encephalitis.
Some people can also experience atypical pneumonia and severe respiratory problems, including acute respiratory distress.
Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours.