Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on Friday said the sample of one more person who was suspected to be infected with the Nipah virus has tested negative, PTI reported.
Shailaja, who is in Delhi to meet Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, said the patient was being treated at the isolation ward of the Medical College Hospital in Kochi. On Thursday, the health minister had confirmed that six patients who were admitted in a quarantine facility also tested negative for the virus. “Result of the sample of the seventh person is also negative,” said Shailaja.
She said the state will continue to remain alert till July 15. “There is no need for any concern,” she added. The state has been on alert after a 23-year-old student had tested positive for Nipah virus in Kochi on Tuesday. Eight districts in Karnataka and seven districts in Tamil Nadu have also been on high alert since Wednesday.
Shailaja said the patients are still undergoing treatment at the isolation ward of the Government Medical College Hospital, Ernakulam. The state government has urged people to continue to take precautionary measures to prevent spread of the disease.
A total of 316 people, who came in contact with the 23-year-old student, have been kept under observation. State Health Principal Secretary Rajan N Khobragade said 33 people out of the 316 have been put in the high risk category.
Shailaja said the state government will seek more funds from the Centre to set up a virology institute of Level 3 standard in Kerala.
The Union Health Ministry has deployed a six-member team to assist in early detection of the infection in suspected patients and to review of isolation facilities. Isolation facilities have also been set up at medical colleges at Kozhikode, Thrissur and Kottayam.
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.