Following the hospitalisation of a 23-year-old youth in Kerala with symptoms similar to those in a Nipah virus infection, 86 people who were in touch with him recently have been put under observation.
After reviewing the preparedness, state health minister K K Shailaja has said there was no confirmation about a Nipah infection so far. “We are waiting for a confirmation from the National Institute of Virology in Pune where serum samples of the patient have been rushed. The result is expected tonight or Tuesday. However, the health department has already taken precautionary steps and has geared up to face any situation on the assumption that the suspected case is that of Nipah virus,’’ she said. She said there was no reason to panic as the condition of the youth, who is admitted to a private hospital in Kochi, is stable and those under observation do not have fever or any other symptom so far.
The hospitalised youth belongs to North Paravur in Ernakulam district and is studying at a technical institute at Thodupuzha in Idukki district. He moved to Thrissur for a training programme and was hospitalised with fever. Those put under observation include four of his roommates in Thodupuzha, others who were in touch with him in Thrissur and his family members in Ernakulam.
On Monday, serum samples of the youth reached National Institute of Virology in Pune, which is one of the major institutes of Indian Council of Medical Research and the WHO collaborating centre for arboviruses reference and haemorragic fever reference.
While NIV director Dr D T Mourya was unavailable for comments, officials at the Indian Council of Medical Research said the samples have been received by the NIV and tests are underway. Results will be available only by Tuesday, officials said. Meanwhile, as per WHO protocol, a multi-disciplinary central team from National Centre for Disease Control and scientists from NIV have been sent to Kerala.
A Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala last year claimed 17 lives. —with inputs from Pune