No threat to Kerala from Nipah virus, says Indian Medical Association

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

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

While the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday had released data that suggests the Nipah virus has so far claimed that the virus has so far claimed 16 lives and as many as 753 suspected cases are under observation after experiencing similar symptoms.

Though tested negative for the virus, Thalassery native Roja (39) died of high fever in Kozhikode Medical College today sending alarm bells across the region which accounted 17 deaths due to NiV, first case of which was reported on May 5. He is suspected to have contacted it from one of the earlier victims.

Meanwhile, the people in Kozhikode district are taking extra precautions even after the state government's assurance that the situation is under control. Nipah virus has killed 16 of the 18 infected people in the state so far. Two other positive cases are undergoing treatment at the Kozhikode hospital.

Shailaja said those that had come in contact with Nipah patients should be cautious till the end of the virus's incubation period and, hence, daily screening of these people has become essential to prevent the spread of the brain-damaging illness. "But anyone who has been in contact with patients needs to get themselves admitted if they are showing any symptoms", said KK Shylaja, the Health Minister of the state assuring that the state was prepared for the expected second round of infections. 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. A decision in this regard will be taken after discussions, " said Dr R L Saritha, director of health services.

The ICMR had written to the Queensland government in Australia asking it to provide the antibody developed there to test if it can neutralise the virus in humans. The state animal husbandry department captured the bats from a well at the compound of the house of the victims but the authorities found no virus in them, meaning the source of the Nipah virus came from somewhere else.

National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is monitoring the situation in various states through the Integrated Disease Control Surveillance Programme (IDSP) network.

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