Six persons, who were kept in isolation after they developed symptoms similar to those of a Nipah infection, tested negative for the virus on Thursday. However, 33 people who came in contact with the youth from Kerala’s Ernakulam, who tested positive for the virus, have been identified as vulnerable.
The confirmation that the six persons under observation are not infected came from National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, where their samples had been sent for examination. Lab results of two other persons who are in the isolation ward at Government Medical College, Kochi, are awaited.
Officials of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said there was no immediate requirement to test samples of persons who did not develop any symptom. “Six persons who had come in contact with the 23-year-old had fever. Hence their samples were taken for tests,” an ICMR official said.
Kerala Health Secretary Dr Rajan Khobragade said that of the 316 persons identified in the contact list of the infected youth, data have been collected on 255. “We…found that 33 of them are in high-risk category. 191 others have been put in the low-risk category. Data collection of the others would be completed soon,’’ he said.
Ernakulam District Collector K Muhammed Y Safirulla said that tests for confirming Nipah infection can now be conducted at the Government Medical College in Kochi. A special ward with ventilator, where 30 patients can be treated simultaneously, has also been set up, added the collector.
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan chaired a meeting in Kochi to take stock of the situation.
Health Minister K K Shailaja said that the state would seek the support of Union Health Ministry to establish a state-of-the-art virology lab in Kerala.
A team to investigate the source of infection will reach Kerala on June 7. —WITH ENS, PUNE