Kerala issues Nipah Virus alert: Kozhikode’s educational institutions closed indefinitely, and Bepur port shut down.

Nipah Virus Alert in Kerala: Measures Taken Amid Outbreak

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Confirmation of Nipah VirusFollowing the unfortunate death of a 47-year-old patient in Kozhikode, Kerala, on August 30, the National Institute of Virology, Pune, has confirmed that the cause of death was the deadly Nipah Virus. Currently, the state has reported six confirmed cases of Nipah Virus, with four patients undergoing treatment in hospitals.

Closure of Educational Institutions

In response to the Nipah Virus outbreak, the Kozhikode district administration has taken preventive measures by ordering the indefinite closure of all educational institutions, including nursery schools and madrasas. However, the administration has encouraged these institutions to conduct online classes starting from Monday.

Closure of Bepur Fishing Harbour

Additionally, the district administration has taken steps to mitigate the spread of the virus by closing down the Bepur fishing harbour and fish landing centre as a precautionary measure.

Public Health Advisory

Kerala’s Health Minister, Veena George, has issued a public health advisory in light of the confirmed Nipah Virus cases. She emphasized the importance of social distancing and taking reasonable precautions. She stated that six samples tested positive until Friday, and there have been no new positive cases since then. Furthermore, she reported that 94 samples from individuals who had close contact with the infected have tested negative. Currently, 21 individuals are in isolation at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.

Government Circular and Hospital Measures

The state government has issued an official circular urging the public to refrain from unnecessary travel and avoid public gatherings. It has also emphasized the need for strict surveillance in the bordering districts. Hospitals treating Nipah Virus patients have been advised to establish medical boards to report the patient’s condition to the health department.

Contact Tracing and Antibody Procurement

Health Minister Veena George disclosed that the contact list for infected individuals includes 1,080 people, with 130 new additions on September 15. Among them, 327 are healthcare workers.Moreover, during a press briefing on September 15, the Director General of ICMR, Rajiv Bahl, revealed that India had acquired some doses of monoclonal antibody from Australia during the 2018 Nipah Virus outbreak. He further announced India’s plan to procure an additional 20 doses of monoclonal antibodies from Australia.

Understanding Nipah Virus

Nipah Virus is a zoonotic virus that can be transmitted from infected animals to humans or through contaminated food, and it can also spread directly between people. The virus was initially identified in 1999 during an outbreak among pig farmers in Malaysia. Kerala experienced its first case of Nipah Virus in 2018. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated the virus’s fatality rate to be between 40 percent and 75 percent.

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