Kerala government puts rigorous Nipah management plan in place

Deccan Chronicle.  | Gilveser Assary

Nation, Current Affairs

A TrueNAT testing facility will be set up at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital campus with the help of National Institute of Virology

The samples of seven people among the 20 high-risk contacts of the child have been sent to Pune NIV for testing and the result is awaited. (Representational Image: PTI)

Thiruvananthapuram: Five more persons reported suspected Nipah symptoms in Kozhikode district, a day after a 12-year-old died of the virus.

With this, the number of people with suspected Nipah virus symptoms has gone up to eight.

The health department has released a fresh contact list containing  251 persons. Of these, 32 are in the high risk category.

A TrueNAT testing facility will be set up at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital campus with the help of National Institute of Virology, Pune.

Health minister Veena George said that a comprehensive Nipah management plan has been put in place in the wake of recurrence of the virus in the state. All government and private hospitals have been directed  to comply strictly with the protocol.

The district authorities have been asked to maintain a strict vigil. Those patients with encephalitis or symptoms of brain  fever would be  subjected to close monitoring at the hospitals and medical centres.

If required the districts can also formulate their own management plan.
The minister said that the government had also issued  revised treatment and discharge guidelines.

The Nipah management plan would be implemented with  close coordination between hospitals at the state and the district level.

The state council comprises Chief Minister, health minister, health principal secretary, disaster management additional chief secretary and other senior officials.

The main  task of the committees is to ensure effective  surveillance, testing  and treatment. As part of surveillance emphasis would be laid on contact testing and quarantine.

The committees will hold review meetings on a daily basis.

Other tasks include intensive training for doctors and other health workers of government and private hospitals, ensuring availability of medicines, consumables, awareness campaigns about preventive measures, interaction with central  agencies and other institutions and setting up of control  rooms for effective coordination.

These steps have been taken to avoid any slackness in dealing with Nipah cases.

Moreover, with the health department focus being primarily on Covid control measures, experts had called equal emphasis on containing Nipah virus.
While efforts have been intensified to trace the source of Nipah virus, experts suspect Rambutan fruit to be the source of Nipah virus which led to the death of the 12 year old boy. The boy’s mother had disclosed that she had given Rambutan fruit to him recently.

The Nipah outbreak in 2018 which claimed the lives of 17 people including 14 in Kozhikode and three in Malappuram district, was suspected to have been  caused by mangoes bitten by fruit bats containing the deadly virus.

Experts say Nipah is a zoonotic disease and is often found to be spread by bats. A person contracts the virus if he eats bat infected fruit.