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Karnataka: ‘Anxious’ lab technician’s test result returns negative for Nipah virus

The case had kept the health officials on their toes as the man self-reported himself to have had a chance of contracting Nipah, a week after a 12-year-old succumbed to the infection in neighbouring Kerala.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: September 16, 2021 7:18:48 am
Health workers collect blood samples from goats in the neighborhood for testing after a 12-year-old boy died of the Nipah virus in Kozhikode, Kerala. (AP Photo/File)

A day after the Karnataka Health Department had sent samples of a 25-year-old lab technician of Dakshina Kannada to test for Nipah virus, the sample returned negative, much to the relief of the authorities.

District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Kishore Kumar said the samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune and to the Nipah testing centre in Kozhikode. “Results of his blood, urine and nasal swab samples tested negative,” the DHO confirmed Wednesday.

Dr Kumar added that he was accompanied by District Disease Surveillance Officer Jagadish when the officials conducted a detailed interview of the lab technician who originally hails from Karwar. “He is now being counselled as he was seen to be worried of contracting the infection,” the DHO said. Officials further confirmed that the samples tested negative for Covid-19.

The case had kept the health officials on their toes as the man self-reported himself to have had a chance of contracting Nipah, a week after a 12-year-old succumbed to the infection in neighbouring Kerala.

Hours after his samples were sent for testing, Deputy Commissioner K V Rajendra had told reporters in Mangaluru that the lab technician was “not a Nipah suspect”.

The 25-year-old youth was perfectly alright, he said. “His samples were sent for testing as he was anxious and insisted we do so. We just tried to ensure everything is alright,” Rajendra had said.

The DC had also explained that the person had travelled in his two-wheeler from Goa to his hometown Karwar and got drenched in the rain on September 8. “He was brought to Wenlock (Hospital) after he was referred from a private hospital in Udupi from Karwar. It was his anxiety after searching the internet that led to his suspicion of Nipah infection when he suffered from only fever and headache,” Rajendra said. Meanwhile, the youth’s father was also isolated “as a precautionary measure”.

Earlier, the Karnataka Health Department had strengthened its surveillance and preparedness against a Nipah outbreak in the districts bordering Kerala. The government’s main focus is on Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Mysuru, Kodagu, and Chamarajanagar.

District administrations have been asked to monitor arrivals from Kerala for symptoms like fever, altered mental status, severe weakness, headache, respiratory distress, cough, vomiting, muscle pain, convulsion and diarrhoea.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had also sought a report from the health officials on the possible impact of Nipah virus infections in the state. He had announced that necessary action will be taken to control it.

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