The Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja has called for a special meeting on Saturday after another death, suspected to be caused by the deadly Nipha virus outbreak, was reported in Kozhikode district of Kerala. The latest victim is a 39-year-old woman from Thalasseri who was undergoing treatment at the Kozhikode Medical College. Initial tests had not shown Nipah virus in the woman.
With more deaths being reported in the region, there are fears that the Nipah outbreak has entered its second stage. Six suspected cases have been admitted to the medical college on Friday. Also, a confirmation on whether fruit-eating bats are indeed the carrier of the virus will be known today.
A day after one of its court officials succumbed to the virus, the Kerala High Court has instructed all courts in the district to shut down till June 6. The district collector had made a request to this effect after a senior superintend of the Kozhikode court died of the virus. The District Judge has been asked to submit a status report on June 6.
Meanwhile, reports from Kozhikode say despite the busy Ramzan season very few people are stepping out into public areas. While public transport busses, especially from the rural areas are running almost empty, commercial activity also seems to have been affected as people choose to stay indoors.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday released data which suggests that the virus has so far claimed the lives of 16 people. At least 753 others are under observation after facing similar symptoms.
Union Health Minister J P Nadda, meanwhile, said the situation in Kerela is under control and Centre is extending constant support to state health minister. Speaking on the sidelines of the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva, Nadda said, “Within five hours of the first report, we activated the protocol. We had sent teams from Indian Council of Medical Research, National Centre for Disease Control, All India Institute of Medical Sciences doctors, and Ram Manohar Lohiya hospital.”