Kozhikode: Three years after it claimed seventeen lives, the deadly Nipah virus infection has resurfaced in Kerala.
This time, the virus has claimed the life of a 12-year-old boy from Kozhikode.
The Chathamangalam-Pazhoor native had been suffering from fever and other symptoms for the past four days and his condition worsened by Saturday.
The boy had sought treatment in a private hospital in Kozhikode first.
Later he was brought to the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.
From there, he was shifted to another private hospital where he breathed his last.
"The child's condition was critical yesterday itself with the blood pressure levels going down. At 5 am today the child died," the health minister said.
"The results of tests done at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune on all three samples – Plasma, CSF (Cerebrospinal fluid) and Serum – came positive for Nipah virus late Saturday night," she said.
The minister also confirmed that the boy was COVID-19 negative.
The boy's burial was done at the Kannamparambu Juma Masjid in Kozhikode on Sunday.
The Kozhikode District Medical officer has informed that two primary contacts of the boy also have Nipah symptoms.
The minister said close contacts of the deceased have been identified and informed.
Of them, 20 fall under the high-risk category. Two among them, who are health workers - one from Medical College and another from a private clinic - are symptomatic.
They will be moved to the newly formed Nipah ward at the Government Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode.
A total of 188 people are under observation. Among them, 136 are health workers - 100 from the Medical College and 36 from the private clinic from where the boy was admitted to.
Sixteen committees have been formed for preventive activities.
Nipah outbreak in 2018
The first Nipah virus disease (NiV) outbreak in South India was reported in the Kozhikode district of Kerala on May 19, 2018. The state had witnessed 17 deaths and 18 confirmed cases till June 1, 2018. The infection was traced to fruit bats in the region.
All contacts traced
The minister said that all primary contacts of the boy have been identified and measures have been taken to isolate them.
The health department staff who came in contact with the child has also been put in isolation.
According to the minister, a timeline of the infection and a route map to trace those who came in contact with the child has already been prepared. The minister said that the boy developed a high fever on August 27. He was brought to the Kozhikode Medical College on August 1. The next day he was shifted to a private hospital.
The minister said that a high-level meeting of the health department was convened within half an hour of the confirmation of the fresh case.
A Nipah control has been opened at the Government Guest House in Kozhikode.
A team from the National Institute of Virology, Pune, will arrive at the Kozhikode MCH where they will set up a lab to conduct Point-of-Care testing.
In the wake of the boy's death, the health officials have closed Ward No. 9 of the Chathamangalam gram panchayat. Partial restrictions have been imposed in Wards 8, 10 and 12.
Police have cordoned off an area of a three km radius around the house of the boy.
An alert has been issued in the neighbouring districts of Kannur and Malappuram.