A 12-year-old child died of the Nipah virus in Kerala on Sunday morning, after which the Centre sent an expert team to the state already struggling with a surge in Covid-19 cases. Two health workers, who were among the close contacts of the child, have also shown symptoms of the disease, PTI reported.
Nipah is a virus that can be transferred from animals to humans. It causes fever and cold-like symptoms in patients before quickly advancing to encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain, and myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart.
In May 2018, an outbreak of the virus in Kerala had claimed 17 lives.
The latest case was reported from Kerala’s Kozhikode district on Friday, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said. The boy showed symptoms of inflammation of the brain and heart, and was hospitalised.
His test samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune, which confirmed the Nipah infection. The boy died at 4.45 am on Sunday, according to The Indian Express.
“The central government has rushed a team of NCDC [National Centre for Disease Control] to the state, which will be reaching today [Sunday],” the health ministry said in a press release. “The team will provide technical support to the state.”
Kerala Health Minister Veena George told reporters that 188 primary contacts of the child have been identified, of which 20 were in the high-risk category. The two symptomatic health workers were among these 20 persons.
George said that all the 20 high risk contacts will be shifted to the Kozhikode Medical College by Sunday evening, PTI reported. Other contacts have been asked to remain in isolation.
“We have formulated an action plan and are enforcing [a] lockdown in 3 kilometres around [the] child’s house,” the health minister said during her visit to Kozhikode.
State ministers AK Saseendran and Mohamad Riyaz had reached Kozhikode earlier, according to the Hindustan Times.