Nipah deaths: Centre keeps close watch on Kerala

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New Delhi, May 23 (IANS) The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday said the central expert team is closely monitoring the situation in Kerala and is working towards containment of Nipah virus that has claimed 11 lives so far.

“Following directions of the Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, a multi-disciplinary central team from National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is presently in Kerala constantly reviewing the situation of the Nipah Virus disease,” the ministry said in a statement.

The outbreak of Nipah virus, spread by fruit bats that infects both animals and humans, came to light when two brothers and their aunt in Perambara of Kozhikode district died within a few weeks. As of now, 13 patients were confirmed afflicted with the virus.

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Besides, there are 16 suspected cases, 15 of which are admitted in Government Medical College, Kozhikode and one is undergoing treatment in Manjeri Medical College in Malappuram district, the ministry said in its statement.

“Lab results of these admissions are awaited,” it said. Of the total 11 deaths, eight have happened in Kozhikode and three in Malappuram.

On Tuesday, the Central team held meetings with Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja and doctors of government as well as private hospitals. “Clinical picture, management and treatment given to the patients were discussed in detail along with contact tracing strategy,” it said.

A part of the team led by S.K. Singh, Director, NCDC visited Malappuram district. The team along with the state Health Minister also interacted with the general public to create awareness and allay any fears in their mind about the disease.

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Another part of the Central team led by P. Ravindran, Director (Emergency Medical Relief) visited the Government Medical College, Kozhikode and reviewed the treatment procedure, infection control practices, use and availability of personal protective equipment and drugs.

On Wednesday, the team held meetings with the District Collector, Kozhikode and discussed streamlining the reporting mechanism and strengthening inter-sectoral coordination. A draft reporting format was prepared and shared with experts for cases, suspects and contacts.

“An action plan was also developed for the healthcare staff and simulation exercise was planned … It was decided to provide separate ambulances for transportation of the suspects to designated isolation facilities,” said the ministry.

–IANS

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