‘Nipah virus spread may recur in places where it was first reported’

Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: At a time when the authorities have publicly announced that Nipah virus has been contained and the situation is normal, the chances for the recurrence of Nipah viral infection in places where it has been reported are high.

Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Rajeev Sadanandan told ‘Express’ on the basis of expert opinion that the probability for the recurrence of the viral infection was high. But he added  the government has already moved with farsightedness to face emergency situations.

The Nipah viral infection was officially declared for the first time in Kozhikode on May 20. Later in a short time period of 10 days, it claimed 16 lives. In total, 18 persons were tested positive and two have successfully recovered from the infection. Though it is being announced that the virus has been contained, the people here have been advised to maintain self-discipline until June 30.

According to authorities, the source from where the infection has come has to be traced to wipe out the menace out of the land. Rajeev Sadanandan said the virus is believed to have been spread by fruit bats belonging to the genus of Pteropus. “The source has to be identified and confirmed. A multi-disciplinary team has been deployed for it. It comprises members from the National Institute of Virology, National Institute of Epidemiology and other Central and state agencies,” he said.

As fruit bats belonging to the Pteropus genus are common in Kerala and as the probability of the recurrence of the viral infection high, the government has also planned other activities. Early measures will be taken from December and hospitals will be equipped to meet emergency situations and a special team from Forestry Department of Kerala Agriculture University has been entrusted to survey the bats of Kerala.

“We are preparing two medical colleges – Kozhikode and Alappuzha –  in a fast pace to equip themselves with the mechanism to meet emergency situations. Already, the Indian Council of Medical Research is preparing bio-safety level-3 laboratories in Alappuzha Medical College. The same will be set up in Kozhikode too,” said Rajeev adding that with this all samples could be tested in these two laboratories.
The government is planning such that Alappuzha will handle the cases in Southern and Central areas and Kozhikode will accommodate the cases from northern parts of the state.

News Reporter