New Delhi: After the Kerala government confirmed that a 23-year-old student had tested positive for Nipah virus in Kochi, as many as 311 people have been put under observation across the state.
While most of them have been confined to their homes, four others, who had fever, have been shifted to isolation wards. One of them is reportedly his classmate, while three others had attended to the 23-year-old victim.
The fresh outbreak comes year after the deadly virus claimed 17 lives in Kerala.
The results of blood samples of the student, which were tested at the National Institute of Virology in Pune, have confirmed Nipah, state Health minister K K Shailaja said here.
The result came this morning, she added.
Earlier, blood samples examined at two virology institutes--Manipal Institute of Virology and Kerala Institute of Virology and Infectious Diseases--had indicated Nipah.
The government said four people--three who attended to the student initially and one person who studied with him--were suffering from fever and sore throat.
They were shifted to the isolation ward set up at the Kalamassery Medical College Hospital here for a detailed medical examination.
Their health condition is satisfactory, according to authorities.
Meanwhile, the Kerala government said that it is in touch with the Union Health ministry.
"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," Kerala chief minister 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 added.
Urging everyone to follow the instructions of the health department, the chief minister warned that stringent action would be taken against those spreading misinformation.
"We have confidence that we can face it. We have faced it in Kozhikode last year and contained it," state Health minister K K Shailaja said trying to instil confidence among people.
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.
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.