Kerala Health Minister Veena George announced on Monday that no new cases of the brain-damaging Nipah virus have been reported in the region. Furthermore, 61 samples taken from high-risk contacts, including nurses, have tested negative for the virus. This brings some relief to the state, which has been grappling with the recent outbreak.
Since the latest outbreak in Kozhikode district, Kerala has confirmed a total of six cases of Nipah infection. Unfortunately, two individuals have lost their lives due to the virus, leaving four active cases currently being treated.
To contain the spread of the virus, authorities have implemented stringent measures such as contact tracing, quarantine protocols, and public awareness campaigns. These efforts are crucial in preventing further transmission and protecting the community.
Recent studies conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have revealed that nine states in India, including Kerala, have the potential for Nipah occurrence. This highlights the importance of remaining vigilant and prepared to tackle future outbreaks effectively.
In response to the outbreak, the Kerala government has established a control room dedicated to managing the virus. Additionally, 19 teams have been deployed as per the Nipah protocol, ensuring comprehensive surveillance and prevention efforts across the affected areas.
Genomic sequencing is currently underway to confirm whether there is a second wave of the Nipah outbreak. The results of these tests are expected to be available by evening or on Tuesday. Moreover, samples from bats have been sent to Pune’s National Institute of Virology (NIV) to determine the presence of the Nipah virus among mammals.
The Nipah virus strain identified in Kerala is the Indian Genotype (I-Genotype), which is similar to the strain found in Bangladesh. It is important to note that there are two known strains of the Nipah virus, with the other originating from Malaysia.
As the incubation period of the Nipah virus, including containment and quarantine measures, is 21 days, the Kerala government has adopted a double incubation period of 42 days since the last positive case to ensure thorough monitoring and control.
According to Veena George, the situation in Kerala is currently under control. All recent samples taken from contacts of infected individuals have tested negative for the Nipah virus.
In conclusion, the encouraging news that no fresh cases of the Nipah virus have been reported and the negative test results of high-risk contacts provide some relief for Kerala. However, it is crucial to continue implementing preventive measures, conducting necessary tests, and remaining vigilant to effectively combat the virus and keep it under control.