Updated: September 7, 2021 7:00:10 am
A day after a 12-year-old boy in Kozhikode succumbed to Nipah virus disease, 251 persons in the victim’s contact list have been isolated and a habitat of fruit bats — considered a reservoir of the zoonotic virus — has been found in the victim’s locality. The source of infection remains unclear.
The government has sounded an alert in Kozhikode and nearby districts of Malappuram and Kannur. Health Minister Veena George said to ensure that none of the boy’s contacts is left out, a door-to-door survey will be conducted in the area which has been declared a containment zone.
After a review meeting, the health minister told the media in Kozhikode that of the 251 persons quarantined, 11 have developed symptoms of the infection. “However, all of them, including those who had exhibited symptoms from Sunday, are stable. Results of the samples of eight persons are awaited from NIV-Pune. Of the 251 persons… 129 are health workers… among the 54 persons in the category of high risk, 30 are health workers,’’ said the minister.
A team of the state animal husbandry department collected samples of fruit bats from the victim’s village Chathamangalam. “The family of the victim had stated about the frequent presence of fruit bats at their property, where there are rambutan trees. Samples of half-eaten rambutan fruits, which could be either bitten by bats or pecked by birds, were collected. Besides, a habitat of fruit bats has been spotted at the other side of a river near the victim’s house. Blood samples and throat swabs were taken from sheep reared by the victim’s family. Team of experts from NIV-Bhopal would soon visit the location to collect the samples of bats for analysis,’’ said the minister.
The minister said teams of trained personnel will carry out a door-to-door survey, each assigned 25 houses.
Veena George said that facilities for point-of-care (TrueNat) and RT PCR tests would be arranged at Kozhikode government medical college, with the help of experts from NIV-Pune. The facility is expected to become operational on Tuesday. However, samples would continue to be sent to NIV-Pune for final confirmation, she said.
Covid-19 vaccination will be suspended in Kozhikode taluk for next 48 hours.
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