Tracking Nipah virus: 1,233 contacts identified, 352 high-risk, with 61 testing negative.

Kerala’s Health Minister, Veena George, provided an update on the Nipah virus situation on Monday, stating that there have been no new cases reported. Additionally, 61 samples from ‘high-risk’ contacts, including nurses, have tested negative. Kerala has confirmed a total of six Nipah infection cases in the recent outbreak in the Kozhikode district, with two fatalities, leaving four active cases. To combat the outbreak, the authorities have implemented rigorous measures such as contact tracing, quarantine protocols, and public awareness campaigns.

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The latest developments include findings from studies by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the World Health Organization (WHO), indicating that nine states in India, including Kerala, have the potential for Nipah occurrences. The government has identified 1,233 contacts of infected individuals, categorizing 352 as ‘high-risk’ and the rest as low-risk, all of whom are in isolation. A control room has been established to coordinate efforts, and 19 teams following the Nipah protocol are conducting surveys.

Genomic sequencing results to confirm the absence of a second wave of the Nipah outbreak are expected soon. Approximately 36 bat samples have been sent to Pune’s National Institute of Virology (NIV) to determine the presence of the Nipah virus among mammals. The virus in Kerala is identified as the Indian Genotype (I-Genotype), similar to the strain in Bangladesh, with two known Nipah virus strains—Malaysian and Bangladeshi.

Despite the usual 21-day incubation period, the Kerala government has extended it to 42 days since the last positive case. Veena George assures that the situation is under control, as all recent samples from contacts of infected individuals have tested negative for the virus, including those from today, yesterday, and the day before yesterday.

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