Eight districts in Karnataka and seven districts in Tamil Nadu were put on high alert on Wednesday, a day after a new case of Nipah virus infection was confirmed in Kerala’s Ernakulam district, The News Minute reported. Some of these districts share border with Kerala.
The districts of Chamrajnagar, Mysuru, Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Shivamogga, and Chikamagaluru in Karnataka are on alert, while the Tamil Nadu government has asked district officials in Kanyakumari, Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Ooty, Dindigul, Tirunelveli, and Theni to remain vigilant.
The Integrated Disease Surveillance Program in Karnataka’s directorate of health and family welfare services on Wednesday issued a circular saying an inter-departmental meeting would soon be conducted at the district level. State health department officials are also supposed to file a “daily outbreak report” that can be accessed online.
The health agency instructed hospitals with intensive care units to be ready to receive emergency cases. They have been told to have two isolation ready to isolate suspected cases. It said people travelling from Nipah-affected areas have to be screened for three weeks.
“Everyone is being told about the spread of the virus from bats and are being told to properly wash all fruits and vegetables, as well as to maintain good hygiene,” Tamil Nadu Health Secretary Dr Beela Rajesh told The News Minute. “A number of doctors and medical experts have been briefed about the virus and they know what steps to take, should someone present with any suspicion of Nipah.”
Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan reviewed the measures in place, and said the situation was under control and there was no cause for panic. “I urge the people not to panic as the government is leaving no stone unturned to remedy the situation,” PTI quoted him as saying. “I am personally reviewing the situation with Health Minister of Kerala K K Shailaja on a regular basis.”
A 23-year-old college student, who tested positive for Nipah on Tuesday, is in stable condition, according to the government. The health of five others suspected of having contracted the virus is improving.
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 claimed 17 lives.