Nipah virus: Five more samples test negative

Nipah Virus
Police closes the road at Kulamadu junction in Kozhikode after a 12-year-old boy dies of the Nipah virus here. Photo: Sajeesh Sankar/Manorama

Kozhikode: With the test results of five more people returning negative for the Nipah virus, the anxiety that has gripped Kerala these past few days all but eased.

With this, the test results of 73 people who were in close contact with the 12-year-old boy who succumbed to the Nipah virus have returned negative.

On Thursday, Health Minister Veena George had informed that 274 people were on the primary contact list of the victim.

Of them, 149 are healthcare workers, 47 are from other districts, and seven are showing mild symptoms of fever.

They are under observation at the Kozhikode medical college hospital and everyone's health is stable, the minister said.

The incubation period of the Nipah virus is 21 days from the date of first contact with the victim. The 274 are likely to remain under observation for that many days.

Health officials have designated a three-kilometre radius area around the victim's house as a containment zone and a house-to-house survey is carried out here to learn if anyone is suffering from an unusual illness or have died due to unusual causes.

The survey is yet to reveal any such unusual instance of illness or death. "A good news so far," the minister said.

It was on September 5 the news broke that the deadly Nipah virus, which claimed seventeen lives in 2018, had reappeared yet again in Kerala.

This time, it had claimed the life of a 12-year-old boy from Chathamangalam-Pazhoor area in Kozhikode.

Health officials, annealed by the many challenges they had to endure when they first tackled the virus three years ago, sprang to action, quickly identifying 188 close contacts of the victim within just hours after the confirmation of the virus.

A timeline of the infection and a route map to trace the others too were prepared in a very short time.

Meanwhile, a series of measures were employed to check any further spread of the dreaded virus in Kozhikode.

A health alert was declared in the district and officials cordoned off about three-kilometre around the house of the deceased child.

Ward No 9 of the Chathamangalam gram panchayat was closed and partial restrictions were also imposed in nearby wards.

The districts of Kannur and Malappuram too sounded an alert and formed teams to mitigate any challenges the virus may pose.

The Centre too rushed a team from the National Centre for Disease Control to aid the Kerala government's prompt efforts to contain the threat.

A dedicated call centre was also opened for Nipah-related assistance and enquiries.

The numbers are 0495 238 2500, 0495 238 2800.

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