Breaking: Nipah Virus Returns to Kerala - Your Guide to Stay Safe

Kerala battles Nipah Virus outbreak with swift actions and safety guidelines. Stay updated on measures to protect yourself

Breaking: Nipah Virus Returns to Kerala - Your Guide to Stay Safe

Friday September 15, 2023,

3 min Read

The picturesque state of Kerala is grappling with the resurgence of the Nipah virus, a potentially lethal infection known for its high mortality rate. Recent reports pinpoint six confirmed cases, including two unfortunate fatalities in the Kozhikode district. The particular strain, identified as the Bangladesh variant, is characterised by a concerning mortality rate of up to 75%, albeit with a lower rate of infection. Transmission occurs through contact with bodily fluids of infected humans, bats, or pigs.

Amidst this concerning backdrop, the region's health and governmental machinery are operating at full throttle to contain the outbreak. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has acted swiftly, supplying monoclonal antibodies for treatment, despite its clinical efficacy still being under assessment. A pioneering mobile BSL-3 laboratory, the first of its kind in South Asia, has been deployed to facilitate expedited virus testing at the district level, further bolstered by an additional mobile laboratory from the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology.

Authorities are leaving no stone unturned, with a central team of experts from renowned institutions partnering with the local government in managing the outbreak and conducting necessary research. As a preventive measure, samples from bats are being collected to investigate the presence of the virus. Surveillance is robust with 950 individuals on a contact list, including a significant number of health workers, all under strict monitoring to prevent further spread.

To arrest the potential escalation of the virus, Kozhikode district has delineated 11 wards as containment zones. Proactive measures have seen the establishment of a dedicated 19-member core committee and control centres equipped with state-of-the-art medical facilities. Recognising the mental toll of the outbreak, psychosocial support teams have been constituted as part of the comprehensive response plan.

Education institutions are observing a brief closure to mitigate the risk of transmission, with the District Collector extending holidays until September 16. In an attempt to maintain a semblance of normalcy, online classes have been encouraged, even as people are urged to avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings.

Amid these developments, Kerala's Tourism Minister sought to allay fears regarding the impact on the tourism sector, affirming that the state remains a safe destination, with no travel restrictions in place, even in the containment zones. Meanwhile, the neighbouring Karnataka government is treading cautiously, advising its citizens to refrain from visiting the affected areas and escalating surveillance in border districts.

As the state combats this health crisis, residents are urged to adhere to safety guidelines, including wearing masks and maintaining social distance. The situation underscores the necessity for vigilance and cooperation from the public in these testing times, as the region works tirelessly to curb the spread of the Nipah virus.

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