Kerala Health Minister Veena George provided an update on the Nipah virus situation in the state, revealing that there have been no new cases reported. She also shared that 61 samples from “high-risk” contacts, including healthcare workers, have tested negative for the virus. Currently, 1,233 people are on the contact list for monitoring.
The Nipah virus strain identified in Kerala has been categorized as the Indian Genotype, or I Genotype, which is similar to the strain found in Bangladesh. Of the six cases reported in Kerala so far, two individuals have sadly passed away, while four others, including a nine-year-old boy, are undergoing treatment.
George explained that studies conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that Kerala, along with eight other states in India, has a probability of Nipah virus occurrence. Furthermore, investigations have shown that bats are the source of Nipah infection in the region.
The health minister mentioned that efforts are ongoing to add individuals who may have been left out to the contact list. She also highlighted the work of 19 core committees established for defense activities and mentioned that a central team is conducting tests on saliva samples from bats as part of the response to the outbreak.
In an attempt to trace the source of the virus in the first patient, the Kerala health department has sought the assistance of the police to obtain mobile tower locations. This collaboration aims to gather essential information that may help determine the origin of the infection.
George shared positive news about the health conditions of the patients currently under treatment, emphasizing that they are in satisfactory condition. In the case of the nine-year-old boy, who is on a ventilator, there has been an improvement in his condition.
Additionally, samples from 36 bats have been collected and sent for testing as part of the ongoing surveillance and efforts to understand the Nipah virus’s transmission dynamics. The government and health authorities are working diligently to manage and contain the outbreak, with a focus on identifying the source of the infection to prevent further cases.