A total of nine persons have died in Kerala’s Kozhikode district due to viral fever, out of which two were affected with Nipah virus, the state health department confirmed on Today.
Among those who died on Monday was Lini, a nurse at the Perambra district hospital in Kozhikode.
Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J.P. Nadda is closely monitoring the situation arising out of reported cases and deaths due to Nipah virus in Kerala. He has reviewed it with Secretary (HFW) Preeti Sudan and DG (ICMR) Dr. Balram Bhargava and has directed for all support to be extended to Kerala in its prevention and management. Following the directions of the Union Health Minister, a multi-disciplinary central team from National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is presently in Kerala reviewing the situation.
The central team includes Dr. Sujeet K Singh, Director, NCDC, Dr. S K Jain, Head Epidemiology, NCDC Dr. P Ravindran, Director, Emergency Medical Relief (EMR), Dr. Naveen Gupta, Head Zoonosis, NCDC, Dr. Ashutosh Biswas, Professor of Internal Medicine, AIIMS, Dr. Deepak Bhattacharya, Pulmonologist, Safdarjung Hospital, along with two clinicians and one expert from the Ministry of Animal Husbandry.
The NCDC team visited the house in Perambra district from where the initial death was reported. The team found many bats housed in the well from where Lini’s family was drawing water. Some bats have been caught and have been sent for lab examination to confirm whether they are the cause of the disease or not.
60 different samples have been collected from the spot and sent for examination. There are two confirmed cases with a history of contact with the index case. They were admitted in the Calicut Medical College Hospital and died due to Nipah virus.
The Ministry has mobilised a public health team from NCDC Branch Kozhikode to assess the extent of the problem, for risk assessment and risk management. They are assisting the state level team already deployed at the epicentre. So far, seven patients have been admitted in Baby Memorial Hospital and in the Government Medical College at Kozhikode and at the Amrutha Medical College in Ernakulam.
Nadda has urged citizens not to believe in rumours posted on social media and not to spread panic.
The field team has advised hospitals to follow intracranial pressure (ICP) guidelines, use personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and sample collection, assist in enhancing active fever surveillance in the community, strengthen contact tracing in close contacts of cases, relatives, health care workers, ensure isolation facilities, ventilator support and hospital infection control practices and coordinate with animal sector and enhance surveillance for unusual illness and deaths in animals.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has ensured availability of diagnostic kits, personal protective equipment, and risk communication materials. High-quality personal protection equipment has been provided to health care personnel. A total of nine individuals are currently under treatment.