The Karnataka government on Tuesday directed officials of districts bordering Kerala to monitor arrivals from the state in the wake of Nipah outbreak.

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.

On Sunday, Kerala had reported the death of a 12-year-old boy due to Nipah, prompting authorities in in neighbouring Tamil Nadu to step up surveillance as a precautionary measure.

On Tuesday, Karnataka Health Minister Sudhakar K tweeted an advisory by the state government: “In the wake of confirmed Nipah virus cases being reported in Kerala, it has been decided to strengthen the surveillance and preparedness in Karnataka with a special focus in the districts bordering Kerala.”

The districts where surveillance will be strengthened are Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Mysore, Kodagu and Chamarajanagaram, according to the advisory.

The advisory, issued by additional chief secretary at the state health department Jawaid Akhtar, said that people who come from Kerala should be monitored for symptoms such as fever, severe weakness, cough vomiting and muscle pain. These are the symptoms of Nipah infection.

The advisory also told the district administrations to spread awareness about the disease and conduct systematic surveillance to identify encephalitis cases that may lead to early detection of Nipah cases.

It said that samples of those found symptomatic, considered infected or those who had come in contact with a patient be sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for testing.

The advisory noted that there is no cure of the Nipah disease. In view of this, it suggested using anti-viral drug ribavirin, which “may have a role in reducing mortality among patients with encephalitis caused by the Nipah virus disease”.

Samples of 30 contacts test negative: Kerala health minister

Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Wednesday said that 30 samples collected from the contacts of the deceased boy have tested negative for Nipah, reported PTI. The results of 21 more samples are awaited.

George told reporters that there were 68 people under observation for the virus. Their health condition was stable, she said.

The health minister added that tracing, surveillance and awareness campaigns were being conducted to check the spread of the virus.

“The negative results are a big relief,” George had said on Tuesday after 10 samples tested negative, reported The New Indian Express. She, however, had advised citizens to remain vigilant against spread of the infection.

She had also said the preliminary assumption was that the deceased boy might have been infected due the rambutan fruit he ate. “But that can only be confirmed by the findings of the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, which is expected to arrive in two days,” the minister had added.