Kerala Health Minister K K Shylaja on Wednesday assured the government has taken necessary precautions to control the spread of the deadly Nipah virus. The virus has claimed 11 lives in Kozhikode, while 19 people with similar symptoms have been admitted to various hospitals in Kozhikode.
In an advisory issued to travellers, the government said travelling to any part of the state was safe. “However, if travellers wish to be extra conscious, they may avoid the districts of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur,” Health Secretary Rajeev Sadanandan said in the advisory.
Shylaja said 2,000 Ribavirin tablets, anti-viral medicines, have been brought from Malaysia for treatment of patients with symptoms of Nipah virus infection. “A team of doctors from the AIIMS is training doctors in Kerala to tackle the situation,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, Kerala State Health Services Director Dr R L Saritha said so far only 13 cases have tested positive for the virus. “We could confirm only 10 cases. But we could not collect samples from a patient named Sabith, who died on May 5 with similar symptoms. Hence, we are pegging the death toll at 11,” she said.
Two booked for spreading rumours
Kerala police registered cases against self-styled naturopath James Vadakkumchery and traditional healer Mohan Vaidyar for spreading rumours and falsehoods on social media about Nipah virus infection in the state. The police acted upon a complaint from Kerala Private Ayurvedic Practitioners’ Association. According to the police, Vadakkumchery and Vaidyar had claimed that the news of outbreak of the virus was a false campaign launched by international pharmaceuticals.
Tributes flow in for nurse Lini
The state health department paid tribute to nurse Puthussery Lini, who died while treating a virus-infected patient. In a function held in Thiruvananthapuram, Minister K K Shylaja said the memories of Lini would always remain alive in the state’s health sector.