A college student in Kerala is suspected to have been infected with the Nipah virus, PTI reported on Monday. However, a final confirmation is awaited from the National Institute of Virology in Pune.
“…The patient’s samples have been sent to NIV, Pune, and the government is awaiting results,” said state Health Minister KK Shailaja. “Only after we get the report from the institute can it be confirmed if the patient is infected by the virus or not.” She said the government has taken all precautions. Isolation wards have been set up at the Kalamassery Medical College Hospital in Kochi. Shailaja added that state health officials will hold a high-level meeting in Kochi on Monday afternoon.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also assured that the government was taking precautionary actions. “The government is closely monitoring the current situation,” Vijayan said in a Facebook post. He urged everyone to follow the instructions of the health department and asked people not to indulge in fake campaigns about the Nipah virus on social media, PTI reported.
“No one needs to be afraid. Be alert. The health department is all set to face any situation,” he said.
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. There is no vaccine or cure for Nipah infections at present. An outbreak of the virus in Kerala in May 2018 had claimed 17 lives.
The student, who has been running fever for last 10 days, has been admitted to a private hospital in Ernakulam. He originally hails from Ernakulam district, but was studying in a college in Thodupuzha in Idukki. He was in Thrissur recently.
Thrissur District Medical Officer Dr KJ Reena said the student had fever during his four-day stay in the district. “The infection is only in his head right now, it has not been passed to his respiratory system,” Reena told The News Minute. There were 16 other students with him on an internship programme in Thrissur. Of them, six, who were in direct contact with him, are also under observation.