A week after a 12-year-old boy succumbed to the Nipah virus in Kerala’s Kozhikode district, a person in Mangaluru was suspected of the same infection in Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district on Monday.
According to health commissioner K V Trilok Chandra, the person who works as a lab technician in Mangaluru had not shown any severe symptoms till the sample was sent for testing at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.
“We need to be alert though but there is no need to panic. The person has not reported any severe symptoms so far,” he said.
Further, an official from the Dakshina Kannada district administration identified the person to be associated with Wenlock district hospital. “He has no direct travel history to Kerala recently even though he was in contact with someone who returned from there. The suspected patient, however, had travelled to Goa recently,” the official said.
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 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.
Youth’s anxiety made us send sample for Nipah testing: Deputy Commissioner
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner K V Rajendra told reporters in Mangaluru that the lab technician, whose samples were sent for testing, 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, and to take no chance,” Rajendra said.
The DC explained that the person had travelled in his two-wheeler from Goa to his hometown Karwar, drenched in 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.
However, as a precautionary move, health officials have directed his father along with officials in Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts to identify all his contacts and isolate them till the results are obtained from NIV Pune.