Nipah outbreak in Kerala: Karnataka on high alert; health dept to intensify surveillance in border

Health workers wearing protective gear shift people who have been in contact with a person infected with the Nipah virus to an isolation center at a goverment hospital in Kozikode. Photo: AFP

Bengaluru: Karnataka government has issued a set of guidelines to the public and health sector employees in view of the Nipah outbreak in Kerala. In the guidelines, the public has been asked to avoid unnecessary travel to the affected area in Kerala. The health department officials have been directed to intensify fever surveillance in the bordering districts.

The government has also directed the health department to provide necessary training to the health staff and keep beds ready at district hospitals for quarantining the suspected cases.

"In view of reporting of 4 confirmed Nipah cases with 2 deaths in Kozhikode district of Kerala state, the surveillance activities in the districts bordering Kerala need to be intensified to prevent the transmission of the infection," the Commissionerate of Health and Family Welfare and Ayush services said in a circular dated on September 14.

Issuing the guidelines for undertaking surveillance activities for immediate compliance, it said initiation of immediate actions by all the districts in the state to prevent the Nipah virus disease transmission at all levels is expected.

Immediate actions suggested to prevent transmission include- avoiding unnecessary travel of the general public from Karnataka to the affected area in Kerala, setting up of check posts for fever surveillance at the point of entries at the border, and intensifying the fever surveillance in the bordering districts to Kerala (Chamarajanagara, Mysuru, Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada) and at the points of entries to Karnataka.

It calls for ensuring widespread dissemination of IEC (Information Education and Communication) materials to educate the general public regarding the Nipah virus disease, and avoid unnecessary panic. Also, training to health staff right upto PHC level, and having a District Rapid Response Team (RRT) inclusive of veterinary officers.

The guidelines further include identifying and keeping reserved, at least two beds in the district hospitals for quarantining the suspected cases reported if any. Negative pressure ICU to be identified and also to ensure adequate stock of all essential drugs and oxygen in the hospitals, along with adequate stock of PPE, VTM (viral transfer medium) and other accessories for sample collection and transportation from a suspected case.

All private hospitals, nursing homes and clinics have been asked to report the suspected case to the District Health and Family Welfare Officer of the concerned district immediately.

Collecting clinical samples from the suspected case if any and arrange for the immediate shipment to NIV (National Institute of Virology), Pune through NIV, Bengaluru as per the guidelines, monitoring the suspected cases if any and their contacts till the end of the incubation period, and strictly following of the Government of India guidelines to detect the cases, have been stressed upon.

The circular asks the districts bordering Kerala (Chamarajanagara, Mysuru, Kodagu, and Dakshina Kannada) to submit compliance reports on the preventive steps taken.

(with PTI inputs)

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.