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Kerala swiftly recovers from Nipah virus, declares state virus-free within five weeks of outbreak

Think Change India
14th Jun 2018
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Kerala has successfully contained the deadly Nipah virus that struck Kozhikode district last month and has claimed 17 lives in the state. 

In a laudable and efficient coordination of the state health department, Kerala has contained the Nipah virus outbreak that recently plagued it. The government has now withdrawn the high-alert measures and declared the state free of Nipah virus.

On June 10, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said the infection had been brought under control. The Logical Indian quotes her saying,

Nipah is under control now and no positive case has been reported. In this backdrop, it has been decided to relax the high alert issued in mid-May after the outbreak of the disease.

Seventeen people had succumbed to the disease in Kerala, with Mohammed Sadik suspected to be the first person to die from the infection. Nearly 2,000 people were kept under strict observation and schools across the state had been ordered to remain closed until June 12.

Image source: Live Law

Swift and timely action by the authorities helped in containing the virus outbreak from becoming widespread and resulting in more deaths. What worked in their favour was recognising and isolating the patterns at the early stage of the outbreak. Having realised that the virus was transmitted only during the symptomatic phase through close contact, they shifted 2,000 people to Government Medical College in Kozhikode.

On Wednesday, Kerala's top court praised the efforts taken by the health department and its many staff across the state in the quick handling of the emergency medical situation. According to Live Law, Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy--while hearing a petition filed at Kerala High Court by two law students to remove videos from Facebook and YouTube spreading misinformation about Nipah virus--applauded the health workers for going beyond their call of duty to curb the virus outbreak.

Chief Justice Roy also commended the efforts taken by RS Gopakumar, a member of the task force constituted on May 20 by the Kozhikode District Collector UV Jose and Directorate of Health Services to tackle the Nipah virus. Dr Gopakumar had performed the last rites of the persons who succumbed to the virus, when staff at the crematorium refused to handle the bodies, in fear that they would contract the infection themselves.


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