The Nipah virus first killed the members of a family that came in contact with it in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram: With the brain-damaging Nipah virus claiming 16 lives in Kerala's Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, the southern state's health minister has issued a warning that there could be a possible second outbreak, adding to the woes of people across the state. The government today also announced that schools, colleges and other educational institutions will remain shut till June 12. They were supposed to re-open on June 5. "Though the first phase is under control, we are expecting a second wave in accordance to the global pattern. We have done everything to prepare for it. A second phase could mean more cases," state Health Minister KK Shailaja said.
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"We are getting ready to tackle the second phase as there are chances that the virus has spread as it is contagious. We have imported materials to keep our hospital staff safe and we are even training them," Ms Shailaja said, adding there is no need to panic.
The state announced that schools in Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur & Malappuram districts will re-open on June 12. They were supposed to re-open on June 1st after summer vacation, which was then extended to June 5th.
The Kerala government announced several precautionary measures including the postponing of meetings and schedules in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts. Doctors and nurses of a taluk hospital at Balussery were asked also to go on leave.
Kozhikode district authorities have asked people to keep away from crowds as a precautionary measure.
According to a team under the heath director, elaborate arrangements have been made at the Kozhikode medical college to observe suspected Nipah cases and 80 rooms have been set apart for them.
After the death of a superintendent of a Kozhikode district court complex due to Nipah virus, the district bar association asked the collector to temporarily put operations on hold.
The Delhi government on Friday, issued an advisory asking people to be cautious, and said that no human infection from the deadly virus has been reported in the national capital. Other states are also on alert.
The central experts from the National Centre for Disease Control are continuing to evaluate the situation and taking necessary measures, said a press release quoting the minister.
Of the 203 samples tested for Nipah, there have been 18 positive cases, of whom 16 died. There is one unconfirmed death and 17 suspected Nipah cases are under observation.