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Nipah Returns to Kerala as 23-Year-old Student Tests Positive, Govt Says No Need to Panic

A list of 86 people, who came in contact with the patient are being monitored by medical officials in Ernakulam.

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated:June 4, 2019, 3:57 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on Tuesday confirmed that the 23-year-old student admitted to a private hospital in Ernakulam has tested positive for Nipah virus.

The health department is carrying out contact tracing to prevent the spread of the disease. Eighty-six people, who came in contact with the patient, are currently being monitored.

“Of those who have come in contact with the 23-year-old, two have symptoms of fever. One of them has been admitted to the isolation ward. It’s not a serious situation, but we still admitted him due to fever and sore throat. Two nurses in the hospital where the patient was initially treated have sore throat and are also under observation,” the minister said.

Bats are natural hosts of Nipah virus, which can transmit from them to other animals and humans. Human-to-human transmission is possible through close contact.

The initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, vomiting and sore throat. Later, the patient can develop dizziness, altered consciousness and neurological signs that indicate acute encephalitis. Some people could also show signs of acute respiratory distress.

A control room has been set up by the Ernakulam district administration to attend to the concerns of the people. People can call on the helpline number 1077 if they have any concerns or doubts regarding the virus and the situation.

The Kerala government has said it is in ‘constant contact’ with the Union Health ministry in the wake of confirmation about Nipah infecting a person in the state, a year after the deadly virus claimed 17 lives.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said there was no need to panic as the health network would rise up to the challenge.

"We are in constant contact with the Union ministry for health. A team of experts have arrived in Kochi. Their guidelines will also be used to tackle the virus outbreak," Vijayan said in a Facebook Post.

"The news of confirmation should not be a reason for panic. Our health network is ready to rise up to the challenge," he said.

Under the supervision of the state health minister, all necessary preparations have been completed, Vijayan said, adding those who came in contact with the infected person, have been traced and are under observation.

Urging everyone to follow the instructions of the health department, the chief minister warned that stringent action would be taken against those spreading misinformation.

"The state had overcome the battle against Nipah last year. In this battle also we are going to prevail,” he said.

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