- Man admitted in Ernkaulam hospital is suspected to have contracted Nipah
- Fifty-two people, among them 22 students, are under surveillance
- 11 students travelled with suspected patient to Thrissur for internship
A 23-year-old man admitted in a private hospital in Ernkaulam is suspected to have contracted Nipah -- a virus that caused the deaths of 17 people last summer -- Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja has said. Fifty-two people, among them 22 students, have been put under surveillance since. None of them have showed any symptoms yet, and have been allowed to stay at home.
"We have sent the tests for confirmation to National Institute of Virology. The preliminary tests have shown some peculiar results, but we are waiting for the final results, expected before tomorrow morning," KK Shailaja told the media after meeting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Nipah virus is transmitted from animals to humans and then spreads through people to people contact. It is associated with fatal encephalitis and respiratory illness. In initial stages it causes fever, headache, muscle pain, dizziness and nausea.
Doctors said of the 52 people who came in contact with the suspected patient, 11 students had travelled with him to Thrissur for internship.
The government said the situation is under control. As precautionary measures, isolation wards have been ordered in three districts -- Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kozhikode.
"We are prepared with all precautionary measures, especially because we have trained staff from the last outbreak in 2018," the health minister said. "We have started tracing all the people who have come in contact with this youth, to ensure they monitored, after they are familiarised with the precautionary measures. There is no reason to panic," said the minister, before leaving for Ernaculum to survey the situation.
According to World Health Organisation, 18 Nipah cases were reported in Kerala last year, 17 of the patients died. The first deaths was reported on May 19. Since then, more than 2,600 contacts were identified and followed up with during the outbreak.
Multi-disciplinary teams -- comprising members from the Health Ministry, animal husbandry department, National Centre for Disease Control, AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital and Indian Council of Medical Research -- were sent to assist the Kerala government after the outbreak.