Nipah scare: Docs, nurses in Kozhikode to go on leave

Besides 1,353 persons who had interacted with the affected before the confirmation of the disease are under observation

Health and Family Welfare Minister JP Nadda on Saturday reviewed the ground situation with the Kerala government and took stock of the public health measures in the areas affected by Nipah virus disease.

Nipah infections have been confirmed in 18 people in Kerala since May 17, and 16 of them have died.

A few medical staff from the Balussery Taluk hospital in Kozhikode district who had been in contact with Nipah virus victims have also been placed on house quarantine.

With one more person succumbing to suspected symptoms of deadly Nipah Virus (Niv), panic continued to grip this Northern Kerala region on Saturday.

- A list of 1,950 people have been prepared, who are suspected to be affected by the virus in the state and according to the health minister, their condition is being monitored closely. The Nipah virus outbreak doesn't hold any threat anymore here, he said. Bats "may only be infectious for a week or two, and then they clear the virus and they're no longer infectious", said Jonathan Epstein, a veterinarian and epidemiologist at EcoHealth Alliance, New York, who's an expert on Nipah outbreaks, a report published in The Wire said. "Things are in control, but we have to be very careful" he said.

The order directs that all educational institutions, including professional colleges should be closed till June 11.

As precautionary measure, nurses and 4 doctors of hospital where two patients died, has been asked to go on leave. Roja, who was admitted to Kozhikode Medical College Hospital, was tested negative for NiV twice. To find out the source of the virus, a number of samples from a particular variety of bats were taken, but they turned out to be negative. Thamarassery Bishop Mar Remigiose Inchananiyil in a circular also advised believers to follow the directions of authorities to help prevent the spread of this life-threatening virus. The report quoted him adding that since the number of infected fruit bats are "very few" at a given time, it becomes hard to find the actual source of infection. NCDC is monitoring the situation in various states through the Integrated Disease Control Surveillance Programme (IDSP) network.

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