A 23-year-old college student, admitted to a private hospital in Kochi, is suspected to have been infected with the Nipah virus but a final confirmation is awaited from the National Institute of Virology in Pune, the Kerala government said on Monday. Over 50 people have been kept under observation, the Ernakulam district collected said, Mathrubhumi reported.
Health Minister KK Shailaja said all precautions have been taken.
“Doctors from Kozhikode Medical College who are experienced in treating patients affected with Nipah virus will reach Kochi. We will also seek the advice of former health secretary Rajeev Sadanandan,” Shailaja told Malayala Manorama.
Isolation wards were set up at Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kozhikode Medical College hospitals.
According to Mathrubhumi, a 24-hour control room has been set up in the Ernakulam Medical College.
Earlier also, there have been suspected cases and samples sent for tests but results had turned out to be negative, she said.
“In this case also the patient’s samples have been sent to NIV, Pune, and the government is awaiting results. Only after we get the report from the institute can it be confirmed if the patient is infected by the virus or not,” the minister told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.
“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. We have isolation wards ready , just in case of any emergency. There is nothing to panic”, Shailaja said, NDTV quoted.
The student, hailing from Ernakulam district, had studied in a college in Thodupuzha in Idukki and had stayed in Thrissur recently in connection with a camp.
According to Thrissur District Medical Officer, Dr Reena, the student was in Thrissur only for four days and had been suffering from fever.
There were 16 other students with him and six of them, who came in direct contact with him, are under observation, she said.
The Idukki district medical authorities said the college in Thodupuzha, where the student is studying, is also under observation.
The minister said there was no need for people to panic as the government has taken all precautionary measures and asked all private hospitals to inform them if suspected cases are reported.
Government, private and peripheral hospitals have been asked to be cautious, she said, adding a high-level meeting of health officials would be held in Kochi this afternoon.
According to state government figures, the Nipah virus had claimed 17 lives ― 14 in Kozhikode and three in neighbouring Malappuram in May last year
(with PTI inputs)