Kerala has received some encouraging updates in its fight against the Nipah virus. State Health Minister Veena George has shared the reassuring news that no new cases of the virus have been reported. She conveyed to the press that 42 samples from individuals with high-risk exposure to the virus have all tested negative, offering a glimmer of hope during this ongoing outbreak.
An important update in the medical treatment of patients revolves around a nine-year-old boy who, in the past, depended on ventilator assistance but has exhibited notable progress.The health minister indicated their anticipation of the outcomes of supplementary tests, which may possibly be revealed at a later time.
Since the start of the most recent Nipah outbreak in Kerala’s Kozhikode district, the state has verified a total of six instances of Nipah infection. Sadly, two individuals have passed away due to the virus, leaving four ongoing cases at this time.
When queried about the duration of continued vigilance and caution, especially given the absence of new positive cases, Minister George referred to established guidelines and protocols.
She explained that vigilance should be maintained for 42 days from the last positive case, as the Nipah virus has an incubation period of 21 days. Therefore, a “double incubation period of 42 days from the last positive case” is considered the recommended period for sustained vigilance, according to George.
In response to the outbreak, rigorous measures, including contact tracing, quarantine protocols, and public awareness campaigns, have been implemented in Kozhikode to contain the virus’s spread. The health minister also mentioned plans to involve the police in contact tracing efforts, particularly for individuals who deny having been in the areas visited by the infected patients.
Additionally, a central team will conduct surveys in the area where the Nipah outbreak occurred in 2018, examining any ecological changes that may have occurred. Simultaneously, teams from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) are conducting field surveys in the district. The health minister noted that ongoing bat surveys are part of these efforts, building on previous surveys conducted last year and earlier this year.
Studies conducted by the World Health Organization and ICMR have emphasized that the entire state, not just Kozhikode, is vulnerable to such infections. This underscores the critical importance of maintaining vigilance and preventive measures to safeguard public health.