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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

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 23, 2018 7:35:06 pm
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 

Live Blog

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

17:35 (IST)23 May 2018
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.

-PTI

16:23 (IST)23 May 2018
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.

-IANS

16:15 (IST)23 May 2018
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.

-IANS

16:00 (IST)23 May 2018

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.

15:48 (IST)23 May 2018
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.

-PTI

15:34 (IST)23 May 2018
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. 

15:32 (IST)23 May 2018
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.

-PTI

14:29 (IST)23 May 2018
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.

12:52 (IST)23 May 2018
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

12:28 (IST)23 May 2018
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

12:12 (IST)23 May 2018
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 

11:59 (IST)23 May 2018
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

11:57 (IST)23 May 2018
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

11:45 (IST)23 May 2018
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

10:43 (IST)23 May 2018
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)

10:28 (IST)23 May 2018
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

10:13 (IST)23 May 2018
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

09:49 (IST)23 May 2018
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)

09:21 (IST)23 May 2018
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.

09:19 (IST)23 May 2018
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’

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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