Kerala: Nipah Virus Alert Issued In 3 Districts, Wards Of Concerned Grama Panchayats Declared As Containment Zones

An emergency meeting was held with MLAs of the district, people's representatives of the affected areas, the district collector, senior officials of the health department and other officials of the district.

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After the deadly Nipah virus killed two people and infected two others in Kerala's Kozhikode district, Kerala Health Department has issued an alert for Kannur, Wayanad and Malappuram districts on Wednesday.

In a bid to bring the situation under control, the district collector of Kozhikode declared the concerned Grama Panchayat wards as containment zones under section (4) of the Kerala Epidemic Decease Control Ordinance 2020.The areas declared as containment zone include several wards of the Aayanchery Gramapanchayat and Maruthonkara Gramapanchayat.

What did the health minister say?

Upon receiving confirmation from the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, where the samples were sent for testing, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said one of the people who was infected with the virus is a nine-year-old boy.The health minister also added that three samples in total had tested positive.

The death of the first person, on August 30, was initially considered a death due to the comorbidity of liver cirrhosis, she said.

"However, his son, the nine-year-old boy who is already in ICU, and his 24-year-old brother-in-law are the two positive cases that were detected today," the minister said yesterday.

The sample of the person who died yesterday also tested positive.

The samples were sent to the Pune Institute of Virology to confirm whether it was Nipah and the administration intensified containment efforts.

What did the CM say?

Earlier, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a Facebook post,"Nipah virus infection has been confirmed in Kozhikode district. Two people died due to infections. Of the four people whose saliva was sent for testing, two were Nipah positive and two were Nipah negative."

The chief minister also urged people not to panic and to take precaution instead.

"Everyone should strictly follow the instructions of the health department and the police and fully cooperate with the restrictions," he said.

Actions taken by the Kerala government

In light of the current outbreak of Nipah Virus in the state, health minister Veena George convened a meeting with the district last night to take a stock of the situation and take necessary measures. The meeting was attended by the  MLAs of the district, people's representatives of the affected areas, the district collector, senior officials of the health department and other officials of the district. 

George also informed that defence operations were already in place including contact tracing and surveillance operations in the area.

The Health Minister and Public Works Department Minister Mohammed Riyaz reached Kozhikode earlier on Tuesday to coordinate the activities with the district administration. They also visited Kozhikode Medical College and evaluated the arrangements.

According to a government release, a Nipah control room has been opened in the district and the numbers are (0495 2383100, 0495 2383101, 0495 2384100, 0495 2384101, 0495 2386100).

The Minister also ensured the availability of PPE kits for patient care, N95 masks and other protective equipment for the medical staff.  Adequate number of staff at the hospitals and medicines has also been ensured.