Kerala totally secure from Nipah virus for now, say health minister and NIV chief

KK Shylaja

Kochi: It seems Kerala has again got free of the scourge of Nipah virus after its recurrence exactly a year after it first reported occurrence in the state.

The Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja has confirmed that Kerala is secure from the Nipah virus and the need for hight alert no longer exists. The state will however, be under observation till mid-July, the minister said in Kannur, on Saturday. She has also committed to the construction of an advanced virology lab in the state.

Dr Dovendra Maurya, the chief of the Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV), on Saturday had stated that Kerala is completely secure from the Nipah virus.

No cases have been tested positive in the past 21 days. Hence, there is no need for alarm or a high alert situation, the NIV Pune chief informed.

"However, the awareness drive to prevent the spread of the virus must be continued and caution must be exercised while eating fruits bitten by birds or bats. Discovering the origin of the virus will prove crucial to preventing the spread of the disease. All the medical colleges in Kerala must be equipped with advanced labs to ensure this," he added.

The virus which is usually detected in the saliva and excreta of bats finds its way into fruits bitten by the animals and remains live for upto three days. Several bats from Kerala are currently under being examined for the virus at the Pune institute. The results for the same will arrive in 10 days time.

Earlier this month, the Kerala government had asked the public to be on high alert after a 23-year-old student from a Thodupuzha college was detected with the Nipah virus.

The deadly virus had killed 17 people in the state last year.

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