Nipah in Kerala: No fresh case in Kozhikode, 11 samples test negative
Stable condition of Nipah patients, robust contact tracing continues, says health minister Veena George
In a relief to the state, Kerala health minister Veena George confirmed on Saturday, 16 September that no new cases of Nipah virus were reported in Kozhikode. Kerala reported six Nipah cases, including two deaths, until Friday. As of now, four patients are undergoing treatment for the virus, and 21 people have been isolated at Kozhikode Government Medical College.
The 11 samples collected from people, including those listed in the high-risk category, tested negative for the virus. The samples had been collected from those who had been in direct contact with Nipah-positive patients.
The health minister underscored that the condition of a child patient on ventilation is improving. “Medical boards have been constituted in the hospitals where patients have been admitted and according to them, all the patients are stable,” said George. The health department is also tracing the people who came in contact with the Cheruvannur native who tested positive on Friday, 15 September.
On Friday, fresh containment zones were declared after tracing the preliminary contact list of the 39-year-old Cheruvannur native. Seven divisions of the corporation and all 38 wards of the nearby Feroke municipality in Kozhikode have been declared as containment zones to prevent virus transmission. With this, the total number of containment zones has crossed 100. These containment zones come under the limit of 11 local bodies, which include Kozhikode corporation, Feroke municipality and nine panchayats.
The district administration has imposed restrictions in the containment zones to prevent movement of people. Residents have been instructed to step out of their homes only in case of an emergency. Each ward has been barricaded and only essential shops have been allowed to function. Banks, schools, colleges and anganwadis have been closed in these areas until further notice.
On 12 September, the Kerala government had set up a control room in Kozhikode and advised people to use masks as a precautionary measure. The health department has also completed the survey of 90 families in Maruthonkara and Ayancheri gram panchayats from where the first two patients came.
“Apart from contact tracing, we have taken the initiative to identify the index patient's source of infection. We have already sought the help of police to obtain the mobile tower location of this person,” the minister added. The health department said it has identified 1,080 persons in the contact list of Nipah positive patients and has begun collecting samples.
A central team headed by scientist Balasubramanyam arrived in Kozhikode to inspect the house of the index patient in the Maruthonkara panchayat area. The team includes Hanul Thukral, M Santosh Kumar and Gajendra Singh.
Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has decided to procure 20 doses of monoclonal antibody for Nipah virus treatment from Australia. ICMR director-general Rajeev Bahl said the mortality among those infected is very high in Nipah (between 40 and 70 per cent) compared to the mortality in Covid-19, which was 2-3 per cent.