Kerala prepares action calendar to prevent Nipah outbreak; special attention to Kozhikode, Wayanad

Nipah virus
Representational image. Photo: iStock

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government on Tuesday said that a special action calendar is being prepared for the prevention of a Nipah outbreak, which has haunted the state on four occasions in the past.
Nipah outbreaks had been reported in Kozhikode district of Kerala in 2018, 2021, and 2023, and in Ernakulam district in 2019, and the presence of Nipah virus antibodies had been detected in bats in Kozhikode, Wayanad, Idukki, Malappuram, and Ernakulam districts.

The calendar is being prepared by including activities for the entire year, especially from May to September, the period when the zoonotic virus is likely to spread, state Health Minister Veena George said.
A high-level meeting of health officials was convened here to discuss preventive measures and the department's preparedness in facing any emergency concerning Nipah, the minister said in a statement here.

During the meeting, Veena George directed the officials to give priority to Nipah and bird flu prevention activities. Preparedness should be strengthened in collaboration with the Animal Husbandry and Forest and Education departments, she said. Mock drills should be conducted to assess preparedness during emergency situations," she said and suggested that special attention should be paid to the northern districts of Kozhikode and Wayanad.

During the meeting, the minister asked health officials to carry out vigorous Nipah prevention activities in these districts on a campaign basis until September. The minister asked the officials to intensify awareness drives in these districts through health centres but cautioned that the natural habitat of bats should not be destroyed.
Special attention should be paid to patients who come to hospitals with fever, headache, unexplained shortness of breath and encephalitis.

If death happens before ascertaining the cause, it should be reported, the minister said, adding that private hospitals should also follow the same procedure. Several high-profile officials, including the health secretary, the National Health Mission state director, the health director, and the medical education director, attended the meeting.  
(With PTI inputs)

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