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Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala: 5 confirmed cases, 700 contacts, and 77 high-risk individuals - 10 key updates

Preventative Measures Against Nipah Virus: Containment zones have been established, and route maps of the deceased individuals have been made available to the public to steer clear of these areas

Written by  Annesha Barua -- September 14th 2023 08:37 AM -- Updated: September 14th 2023 08:59 AM
Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala: 5 confirmed cases, 700 contacts, and 77 high-risk individuals - 10 key updates

Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala: 5 confirmed cases, 700 contacts, and 77 high-risk individuals - 10 key updates

Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala: The Nipah virus has once again surfaced in Kerala, with five confirmed cases reported thus far. As authorities scramble to contain the outbreak, the contact tracing efforts have revealed a worrisome figure: 700 individuals have come into contact with the infected patients, of which 77 are considered to be in the high-risk category. Kerala's Health Minister, Veena George, provided critical updates on the situation:

  1. New Positive Case: A 24-year-old healthcare worker who had close contact with a Nipah patient has tested positive, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to five.
  2. Containment Zones: The state government has declared containment zones in affected areas and has issued route maps of the two deceased individuals to help people avoid these paths.
  3. Restrictions in Kozhikode: In Kozhikode, restrictions have been imposed to prevent large gatherings at festivals and functions, a crucial step in controlling the spread of the virus.
  4. Containment Zones in Vadakara Taluk: In Vadakara taluk of Kozhikode district, 58 wards spanning nine panchayats have been designated as containment zones. Only essential services are allowed, and entry and exit are closely monitored. Shops selling essential goods can operate between 7 am and 5 pm. No specific time restrictions have been placed on pharmacies and health centers. Buses and vehicles passing through containment zones on national highways are not permitted to stop within these affected areas.
  5. Treatment for a Child: A nine-year-old boy in Kozhikode has contracted the Nipah virus, and the government has ordered monoclonal antibody treatment from ICMR to manage the case. While there's no definitive clinical proof that this treatment works against Nipah, it's currently the only available option. The child is currently on ventilator support.
  6. Kerala's Vulnerability: Minister Veena George emphasized that Kerala, as a whole, is susceptible to such infections, according to studies conducted by WHO and ICMR.
  7. Bangladesh Variant: This Nipah outbreak in Kerala is attributed to the Bangladesh variant of the virus. While it is less infectious, it carries a high mortality rate and can spread from human to human.
  8. Nipah Virus Transmission: Nipah is a zoonotic virus that can be transmitted from infected animals or contaminated food to humans. Subsequently, it can be transmitted from one infected person to another. Symptoms include fever, headache, cough, difficulty in breathing, and vomiting, which, in severe cases, can progress to swelling of the brain and brain death.
  9. Previous Outbreaks: Kerala has previously reported Nipah outbreaks in 2018, with 17 out of 18 patients succumbing to the virus, as well as isolated cases in 2019 and 2021.
  10. Alert in Karnataka: The Nipah outbreak in Kerala has prompted authorities in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka to be on high alert. The health department has instructed the police to set up checkposts at border entry points to inspect goods vehicles entering the district, with a particular focus on checking fruits coming from Kerala.

As the Nipah virus rears its head once again, authorities are taking swift and comprehensive measures to contain its spread, protect the population, and ensure the safety of neighboring regions. Vigilance and public cooperation are crucial in this ongoing battle against the deadly virus.

- With inputs from agencies


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