Nipah outbreak Highlights: Outbreak contained in Kerala, no need to panic, says state health minister

Nipah outbreak Highlights: Outbreak contained in Kerala, no need to panic, says state health minister

Kerala Nipah outbreak highlights: Ten people have been confirmed dead due to Nipah virus in Kerala. The border states have stepped up their precautionary measures to combat the outbreak. Follow the latest developments

Kozhikode: Family members of the patients admitted at the Kozhikode Medical College wear safety masks as a precautionary measure after the ‘Nipah’ virus outbreak, in Kozhikode, on Monday. (PTI Photo)

A day after ten people lost their lives in Kerala to the infection caused by rare Nipah virus, one case with similar symptoms has been reported from Mangalore in Karnataka. The samples have been sent for further tests. Also referred to as NiV, the infection spreads through fruit bats. No new case has been reported from Kerala in the last 24 hours, Kerala Health Minister K K Shylaja told reporters on Tuesday.

“All efforts are also being made to ensure that more lives are not lost,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, adding that the government was handling the issue with ‘utmost seriousness.’ K K Shaylaja also said that the World Health Organisation has been informed about the outbreak. She also added that Union Health Minister J P Nadda, who is in Geneva, called her and enquired about the situation in the state and promised all help from central government. The Centre has rushed a rapid response team to contain the outbreak.

Read | Nipah virus outbreak: Centre rushes health team to Kerala 

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The Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala has created a panic in the state. More samples with suspected symptoms are being sent to NIV for confirmation. Follow LIVE UPDATES

UAE-based entrepreneurs pledge support to children of Kerala nurse who died of Nipah

Two entrepreneurs in the UAE have offered their support to the two young children of an Indian nurse, who died after contracting Nipah virus from patients in Kerala. The Abu Dhabi-based entrepreneurs also hailed Lini Puthussery for her "heroic sacrifice" in the line of duty.

Santhi Pramot and Jyothi Pallat, executive directors of Avitis Institute of Medical Sciences based in Palakkad, Kerala, told Khaleej Times they have pledged to sponsor the education of Lini's sons.


Nipah virus outbreak contained in Kerala, no need to panic, says health minister

Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja has said that the outbreak of Nipah virus (NiP), which has claimed 10 lives, has been contained and there was no need to panic.

Shailaja told the media in Thiruvananthapuram that though the virus had been contained, there was a need be alert."The entire expenditure of these patients would be borne by the state and there need not be any panic over bats. The government is awaiting the supply of ribavirin, a drug that's commonly used for treating similar cases," she said.


Nipah virus outbreak contained in Kerala, no need to panic:State health minister

Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja has said that the outbreak of Nipah virus (NiP), which has claimed 10 lives, has been contained and there was no need to panic.  Shailaja told the media in Thiruvananthapuram that though the virus had been contained, there was a need be alert.

"The entire expenditure of these patients would be borne by the state and there need not be any panic over bats. The government is awaiting the supply of ribavirin, a drug that's commonly used for treating similar cases," she said.


For those who don't know, Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus is fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus.

Rajasthan govt ask officials to be alert, create awareness about Nipah virus

In the wake of deaths from Nipah virus in Kerala, Rajasthan government has given directions to officials to take precautionary measures to check the spread of the virus in the state.

Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf said that many people the state live in Kerala and they often visit Rajasthani therefore "there is a need to remain alert and create public awareness on the issue." He asked officials to make necessary arrangements for checking the spread of the virus in the state.


2,000 Ribavirin tablets have reached Kozhikode till now

Meanwhile, 2,000 Ribavirin tablets, an antiviral medicine, have already reached Kozhikode. Another batch of 8,000 tablets are expected to be delivered later in the day, PTI quotes Health department sources as saying. 

Travellers asked to avoid four Kerala districts

The Kerala government has asked travellers to avoid visiting four northern districts of the state -- Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur in the aftermath of Nipah outbreak. In an advisory issued by Health Secretary Rajeev Sadanandan, it was stated that travelling to any part of Kerala was safe. But if travellers wished to be extra cautious, they may avoid the four districts, it said.


Goa govt asks doctors to stay vigilant, forms committee

Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane asked doctors in the tourist state to stay vigilant in the wake of the outbreak of Nipah virus in Kerala. He notified a committee, headed by the health secretary and other department officers, which would draw a protocol, in case there are cases of the virus reported in the state. 'At present, there is no reason to worry as there is not a single case of Nipah virus in Goa. The Centre has also not issued any alert except for a general advisory, briefing about the origin and symptoms of the virus,' Rane told reporters this morning.

He said as part of the general advisory, 'a circular would be issued to all private and government doctors in the state to stay vigilant about symptoms of the virus being seen in any patient.' Doctors would be asked to send samples of such patients to the state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital, which would then send it to the Pune-based National Institute of Virology for testing, he said. The Centre has asked the state to investigate such cases on an urgent basis, the minister added.

Governor P Sathasivam calls for calm

Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam appealed to the people to not to panic over the rumours being circulated about the spread of Nipah Virus. He also asked everyone to follow the advisories issued by the State Health Department

How to control the spread of Nipah virus?

Timely laboratory confirmation and aggressive epidemiologic tracing of contacts with patient quarantine and isolation can contain spread of the virus. This is important because there is no effective specific treatment for the infection. Treatment is symptomatic and supportive. Severely ill individuals need to be hospitalised and may require intensive care. Because Nipah virus encephalitis can be transmitted person-to-person, standard infection control practices and proper barrier nursing techniques are important.

Read | Nipah virus lethal, but local: Why you needn’t panic

Criminal cases against those who spread false information on Nipah virus: Kerala police

Kerala Police has asked people to refrain from spreading fake messages on Nipah virus, adding that criminal cases will be registered against the propagators. In a press note, the police said, 'Creation of fake or false messages, spreading them to cause panic or public disorder are criminal acts and liable for investigation and prosecution. Those who forward such messages in the Social Media will also face investigation and prosecution.' Kerala Health Minister KK Shaylaja had also asked people not to panic and believe what is said on social media. “Only believe what the official channels of the government are telling you,” she said.

The rumours on social media, especially WhatsApp, have been a major impediment to the process of awareness and dissemination of information in the area, both locals and authorities agree. Some deaths in the area, which have no connection whatsoever to the virus, get attributed to the outbreak and subsequently end up being hyped up among the local population. “Some news channels with vested interests pick this up and play it again and again. Yes, it’s a serious situation and we have to be careful. But it’s nothing on the scale that it’s being hyped up as,” said Moosa, who had worked in the Gulf for a long time before settling down here. “People are calling us from the Gulf asking if it’s safe to come here. They are cancelling their vacations,” he added.

Read | WhatsApp rumours have hurt us the most, say locals 

Medicines from Malaysia being brought to combat infection

Kerala Health Minister K K Shaylaja has also said that the government will pay for all expenses related to the treatment of the disease. While there is no vaccine for the infection, preventive medicines will be flying in from Malaysia

Happy that I got a chance to serve in Kerala: Dr Kafeel Khan

Dr Kafeel Khan, who was arrested after the death of several children at a Gorakhpur hospital last year, has volunteered to work with Nipah virus patients in Kozhikode. Khan who is out on bail got a call from the Kerala chief secretary, saying Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had accepted his request.

"When I came to know 10 people, including, a nurse died in Kerala, I thought to offer help there. Anyway, my suspension hasn't been revoked by UP govt yet. I contacted the hospital, they'll revert today. I will be back to Gorakhpur after helping in Kerala. Arrangements of my lodging and boarding will be made by the Kerala government. I am very happy that I got a chance to serve there," he said. "Sister Lini is an inspiration and I am more than willing to sacrifice my life for the noble cause. May Allah give me the strength/knowledge and skill to serve Humanity,” he wrote on Facebook

Bats might not be behind Nipah outbreak: Central team

The bats found in the premises of the family that lost three members to the outbreak were unlikely to be the cause of the disease, according to a team of the Department of Animal Husbandry that visited Changaroth village in the district. The locals say that the sons of Moosa Haji who were the first to succumb to the infection had gone to clean the well.

While a final report will be out only on May 25, the teams’ initial assessment is that the bats found in the house are not fruit eaters. Only fruit-eating bats can carry the Nipah virus. Read more

Kerala govt announces Rs 5 lakh compensation to Nipah virus victims, Govt job to nurse Lini's husband

The Kerala government has announced a compensation of Rs 5lakh to the victims of Nipah virus. The cabinet has also said that it will offer a government job to the husband of Lini Puthuserry, the nurse who died due to Nipah virus infection. The cabinet has also announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to her two sons. Lini died on Monday and her body was cremated in an electric crematorium immediately without handing it over to her to the family to avoid the spread of infection. Her letter to her husband Sajish has been widely shared on social media. 

Sajish with his elder son Rithul outside their home in Chembanoda in Kozhikode district (Express Photo by Vishnu Varma)

One case of suspected Nipah Virus in Mangalore

One case of suspected Nipah Virus (NiV) infection has been reported from Mangalore in Karnataka. District Health and Family Welfare officer Dr Ramakrishna Rao said that the symptoms are similar to the infection and that the samples have been sent for further tests. The patient has also been shifted to quarantine and his health is being constantly monitored. He, however, added that there is no confirmed case and that there is no need to panic

Govt hospitals being prepped for Nipah outbreak in Telangana

Telangana Health Minister C Laxma Reddy said that the department is in touch with NCDC and Manipal Centre for Virology and Research (MCVR)to check against the Nipah virus. The government is setting up special wards with five-eight beds in the state-run Osmania, Gandhi, Niloufer and Fever Hospitals in Hyderabad and MGM hospital in Warangal, he said. Talks have been held with the National Insitute of Virology at Pune on the tests to determine Nipah, he added, PTI reported

Source of virus suspected to be unused well inhabited by bats

The first case of Nipah virus was reported from Changaroth village, 45 kilometres from the city of Kozhikode. Fear is evident among the villagers as they contend that the viral outbreak’s source is an old well, situated two kilometres from Soopikada. The locals say that the family of Moosa Haji who were the first to succumb to the infection had bought the land and Haji's sons ad gone on to clean the well. “It was lying unused for a long time. Apparently there were some bats inside or bat faeces in the water in the well. It’s not clear whether they drank the water or just cleaned it. But it’s being suspected that the infection started there,” said Prasanth Paloli, who works in a stone quarry.

Kozhikode: Animal Husbandry department and forest officials collect bats from a well of a house after the outbreak of 'Nipah' virus, near Perambra in Kozhikode on Monday. (PTI Photo)

Eight border districts in Karnataka on alert, govt to screen people coming from Nipah virus infected areas

The Karnataka government has directed eight border districts to compulsorily submit a 'daily outbreak report'of Nipah virus. The eight districts are Chamarajnagar, Mysuru, Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Shivamogga, and Chikkamagaluru, an official press release said. These districts either share their borders with Kerala or have a large number of people from Kerala traveling to these districts.

The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme of the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare Services said those traveling to Nipah affected areas should be screened for 18 days. The eight districts should have two isolation beds to quarantine suspected human cases and necessary logistics should be made available there. Hospitals in these districts, which have ICU with ventilators, should be identified and kept ready to receive emergency cases, the release said.

No need to panic, say officials in Gujarat

Officials in Gujarat have ruled out the spread of the disease in the state. Even as there is a feeling of panic in the state, the officials said, “No casualty has been reported so far because of Nipah virus anywhere in Gujarat.” National Health Mission nodal officer for Gujarat Dr G C Patel on Tuesday said, “No watch has been put at any specific spots anywhere in the state as there is no possibility of the spread of the virus in the present heat wave conditions.” Director of Kankariya zoo R K Sahoo said, “There are bats in Ahmedabad at places like Gujarat College and Kankariya lake but Nipah virus does not sustain in the hot climate of Gujarat. It can thrive in the atmospheres of Kerala and West Bengal.

Read more | ‘No chance of Nipah virus spread in Gujarat’

Nipah virus: How foreign media is covering the outbreak in Kerala

The Nipah virus outbreak has triggered panic not only in Kerala but has also attracted global attention. Foreign media has also focused on the increasing death toll because of the rare virus. The Nipah virus outbreak has left the “medical crews scrambling to manage the spread of the deadly disease — and to minimize panic,” The Washington Post’s report stated.  Read more

‘She did more than what a duty nurse usually does for a patient’:

For Sajish, his wife Lini’s last message to him is so precious that he has tucked it carefully under his cell phone cover, where it will remain with him wherever he goes. Early Monday morning, his wife Lini PN, who worked as a daily-wage nurse at the government taluk hospital in Perambra, 38 kilometres from Kozhikode, passed away after coming in direct contact with Mohammad Sabith, believed to be the first victim of the Nipah virus outbreak in northern Kerala. Read More

Precautionary measures put in place in Puducherry: CM Narayanasamy

Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy said on Tuesday that all precautionary measures have been taken in the union territory in order to keep a check on the spreading of Nipah virus. "Hand-bills are being distributed among the public to create awareness on the virus by listing the dos and don'ts for people to follow," he said after holding discussions with officials of the department of health and doctors from JIPMER.

Nine undergoing treatment in Kozhikode

The Health Ministry said a total of nine persons are currently undergoing treatment and isolation wards have been opened in several hospitals in Kozhikode.

Situation under control: JP Nadda

The Union Health Ministry has asked people not to 'panic' and said the outbreak is 'unlikely' to spread as early and efficient containment measures were being taken. The ministry also noted that the outbreak appeared to be a "localised" occurrence. The situation is under control, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said.

WHO in contact with govt health officials

The WHO is in contact with government officials in the affected areas, Henk Bekedam, its India representative, said in a statement

KK Shailaja visits Government Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode

Professionals express interest to work in Nipah affected areas: CMO

"Many professionals have expressed their interest to work in Nipah affected areas. The Government of Kerala welcomes their service. Those who are interested to volunteer must contact the director of Health Dept. or the Superintendent of the Government Medical College, Kozhikode," a CMO Kerala tweet read.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan offered condolences

BJP MP Meenakashi Lekhi condoles the death of nurse Lini

"Heartbreaking! Lini, nursing staff and mother of two toddlers, succumbs to Nipah virus, while nursing her patients afflicted with the same. Her dedication towards the job will inspire millions across the world," Lekhi said in a tweet.

Nurse Lini's last words

‘You should look after our children well’: Kerala nurse who died of Nipah virus in last message to husband

“Don’t think I will be able to meet you again. You should look after our children well,” was the last message from a nurse in Kerala who succumbed to the rare Nipah virus infection in Kerala on Monday. Lini Puthussery, a nursing assistant, contracted the disease while attending to three victims infected with the virus. To prevent further spread of the infection, her body was cremated in an electric crematorium immediately without handing it over to her family. Read More

No need to panic in Goa, says govt; adds no screening of tourists from Kerala as of now

In the wake of Nipah virus infection in Kerala, the Goa government has asked people in the state not to panic and pay any heed to the rumours. "As of now there is no alert issued for Goa by any agency, including the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), whose team is in Kerala assessing the ground-level situation," Dr Utkarsh Betodkar, State Surveillance Officer of Directorate of Health Services, told PTI. He said there was no need to panic as it has not affected the entire state of Kerala, but only a specific area of Kozhikode.According to Betodkar, the Goa government was not taking any chances and has already contacted Manipal Centre for Virus Research (MCVR) to assess the situation. He also added that there is no screening of tourists from Kerala as of now. "Screening of the tourists or visitors can happen only when there are specific guidelines issued by the Centre. Right now, there are no such guidelines," he said.

No new infection in last 24 hours: KK Shailaja

Kerala Health Minister also added that no new cases of Nipha virus infection have been reported from the state in the last 24 hours. The World Health Organisation has also been informed about the outbreak of virus in Kerala, the minister said. 

Kerala continues to be on alert

With the increasing number of deaths being reported from Kerala, people in the state are alert and taking preventive steps like wearing masks, gloves in order to avoid the infection. (Express photo by Vishnu Varma)

After Nipha virus deaths in Kerala, Tamil Nadu steps up fever surveillance

Alarmed with the increasing Nipah virus infection in Kerala, the Tamil Nadu government has also stepped up fever surveillance in the border districts of the state. Asserting that there was no need to panic, state Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said districts neighbouring Kerala (Coimbatore, Nilgris and Kanyakumari) have been asked to be extra-careful and step-up 'fever surveillance.' 'We are continuously monitoring the incidence of fever. We are seeing if there is any unusual increase in complaints of fever anywhere in the state and there is no such thing now,' he told reporters.

Kanyakumari District Collector Prashant M Wadnere told reporters that fever surveillance has been intensified and appealed to people not to pay heed to rumours, PTI reported. 

12 confirm positive Nipah cases in Kerala: KK Shailaja

Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja confirmed 12 positive cases of Nipah virus infection in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts of Kerala. While ten succumbed to the infection, two of them are critically ill and are undergoing treatment in the hospital. "We had sent 18 cases for testing for Nipah virus out of which 12 have come back positive, rest six are negative. The victims from Malappuram were reportedly in contact with those infected in Kozhikode," she added.

No need to panic, situation being monitored: Kerala Heath Minister KK Shailaja

Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja has said that the government has taken measures to control the situation. "All the periphery hospitals of the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital are fully equipped to tackle the fever. All those who have fever need not rush to the medical college. Patients samples have been sent to Pune and results are awaited," she said.

The state government has sanctioned an emergency fund of Rs 20 lakh to the Kozhikode Medical College to tackle the present fever outbreak, IANS reported.

How to prevent Nipah virus?

While there is no vaccine available for the infection, preventive measures can be a key to control the spread. With fruits bats being the primary cause of infection, the farm animals should be prevented from eating fruit contaminated by bats. Consumption of contaminated date palm sap including toddy should also be avoided. Physical barriers can be put in place in order to prevent bats from accessing and contaminating palm sap.

Medical officials who are looking after the patients with suspected or confirmed NiV should take basic precautions like washing hands, using a gown, cap mask and wearing gloves. For laboratory personnel, Nipah virus is classified internationally as a biosecurity level (BSL) 4 agent. BSL 2 facilities are sufficient if the virus can be first inactivated during specimen collection.

In case of animals, wire screens can help prevent contact with bats when pigs are raised in open-sided pig sheds. Run-off from the roof should be prevented from entering pig pens. practice. Early recognition of infected pigs can help protect other animals and humans. Due to the highly contagious nature of the virus in swine populations, mass culling of seropositive animals may be necessary.

Symptoms and treatment of Nipah virus?

The infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death. The virus can be transferred from a human through close contact, body fluids, saliva and cough.

There is no vaccine for the disease and the primary treatment is intensive supportive care, according to WHO.

Read | Nipah virus infection — Symptoms and treatment

Health staff at Kozhikode medical college. (Express Photo)

The Kerala health department has started medical camps in order to disseminate information about the virus and check for symptoms. Asking people not to panic and believe rumours generated on social media, the government has also set up a control room to assist people. Instructions have been issued to private hospitals not to deny treatment to those reaching hospitals with fever.

The Nipah virus infection starts with 3-14 days of fever and headache, followed by drowsiness, disorientation and mental confusion. The acute encephalitis then progresses to coma within 24-48 hours.

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