Close contacts of child who died of Nipah test negative
Kerala heaved a sigh of relief on Tuesday as the test results of those who came in close contact with the 12-year-old child who succumbed to Nipah virus infection returned negative. State Health Minister Veena George said the test results of the samples taken from the child's eight close contacts are negative. Here are more details.
There are currently 48 people in the high-risk category: George
"The samples of parents and healthcare workers, who were symptomatic, have been tested negative. It's a moment of relief that the results of those who were in close contact with the child came out negative," the minister said. George said there are currently 48 people in the high-risk category who are at a medical college isolation ward and their health condition is "stable."
More samples will be tested on Tuesday: George
Five more samples are being tested in the facility arranged at the medical college by Pune NIV, the minister said. Out of the 48, 31 people are from Kozhikode, four from Wayanad, eight from Malappuram, three from Kannur, and one person each from Palakkad and Ernakulam districts. The minister also informed the media that more samples will be tested on Tuesday.
The health department has been on high alert
The health department on Monday said 251 contacts of the child had been identified, of which 129 are healthcare workers. The department has been on high alert since the 12-year-old boy from Kozhikode succumbed to the infection on Sunday. The area within a three-kilometer radius from the house of the deceased child has been declared a containment zone. This includes wards from five panchayats.
Centre advised immediate public health measures
The health departments in four districts, Kozhikode, neighboring Kannur, Malappuram, and Wayanad, have been put on high alert. The Centre has advised some public health measures such as active case search in families, villages, and areas of similar topography. It has also advised active contact tracing, quarantining of suspects, and the collection of samples for testing.
Kerala had seen its first Nipah outbreak in 2018
This is the second Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala in the past three years. The southern state had earlier witnessed infections in 2018, leading to 17 deaths. Worryingly, Kerala is already reeling under a high rate of daily coronavirus infections and deaths.
What is Nipah virus?
Nipah virus (NiV), a zoonotic virus, was first detected in Malaysia in 1998. It is transmitted to humans from animals such as bats and pigs. While it has a high fatality rate of 75%, there is no known treatment or vaccine. After a person gets infected, it takes 5-14 days for symptoms to appear. Patients complain of fever, nausea, headaches, and fainting.