Union Health Minister reviews Nipah virus cases in Kerala

NEW DELHI: The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda on Tuesday reviewed reported cases and deaths due to Nipah Virus in Kerala and assured all support for its prevention and management.

The union minister reviewed the situation with Secretary (HFW) Ms. Preeti Sudan and DG (ICMR) Dr. Balram Bhargava and directed concerned officials to extend all supports for prevention and control of the deadly virus. So far the virus has claimed 10 lives in Kerala.

A multi-disciplinary Central team from National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is constantly reviewing the situation in the southern state. The NCDC team visited the house in Perambra from where the initial death was reported.

The team found many bats housed in the well from where the 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. About 60 different samples have been collected from the spot and sent for examination. There are two confirmed cases with history of contact with the index case. They were admitted to the Calicut Medical College Hospital and died due to Nipah virus.

The Ministry has mobilized 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 to Baby Memorial Hospital and in the Govt. Medical College at Kozhikode and at the Amrutha Medical College, Ernakulam.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), Nipah virus infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural hosts of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

Typically, the human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion and coma, which can potentially lead to death.

Nadda urged citizens not to believe in rumours about the virus posted on social media and not to spread panic.

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