Researchers at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune Friday confirmed that a patient, who was admitted to an isolation ward in Kerala after developing symptoms similar to those of a Nipah infection, has been tested negative for the virus. The development comes a day after the NIV confirmed that six others had also tested negative for Nipah.
On Thursday, Kerala’s Health Minister KK Shailaja had said the government was relieved by the results as it indicated that the virus had not spread. Test results of another patient are awaited.
Kerala is on alert after a 23-year-old from Ernakulam contracted the deadly virus. Shailaja had said Wednesday that his condition had improved considerably and that he is conscious.
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The government, meanwhile, has categorised 33 people as vulnerable to the virus. “33 are in high-risk category. 191 others have been put in the low-risk category. Data collection of the others would be completed soon,’’ Kerala Health Secretary Dr Rajan Khobragade said Thursday. He added that the state would approach the Union Health Ministry to establish a state-of-the-art virology lab in Kerala.
Several bordering districts in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are on high alert following the case in Kerala. Both state governments are taking measures to prevent the entry of the virus by reportedly stepping up screenings and awareness drives, among other measures.