Nipah virus returns to haunt Kerala health authorities

Kerala is once again under the threat of Nipah virus after a youth with symptoms of the disease has been admitted to a private hospital in Kochi. Twenty-two students who travelled with youth suspected to have Nipah, are also under observation.

Health authorities in Kerala said they have extended the observation to nearly 86 people who had direct or indirect contact with the suspected patient.
The authorities have traced others, including his family members and have kept them too under observation. Almost 50 people in Thrissur are under observation, but the Thrissur District Medical Officer (DMO) said that it seemed that the young man had not contracted the disease from the district. 
DMOs, however, said that there was nothing to worry for now as none of the people under observation were showing any signs of contracting the disease. The government is also waiting for the National Institute of Virology in Pune to confirm whether the young man has contracted Nipah virus. 
However, the government said it is taking all precautions to avert a spread of the disease and has already put various measures into place.
The student who is suspected to have contracted the virus hails from North Paravoor in Ernakulam. He had studied in a college in Idukki and had gone from Idukki to Thrissur for an internship. From there, he then went back to his house in Ernakulam.
As a result, all these three districts of Ernakulam, Thrissur and Idukki have been placed on alert. 
Of the 22 students with whom the patient had contacts, six are from Thrissur while the rest are from other districts. 
“Isolations wards at Thrissur Medical college and General Hospital have been arranged. All protective equipments and medicines have been kept ready. We will take complete history and contract tracing of these patients”, Dr KJ Reena, Thrissur DMO said. 
“We have got the address and other details of the 22 students, out of which six are in Thrissur district. The other 16 students are in different places in Kerala. A similar kind of alert has been issued and facilities have been arranged in those places as well. We have taken note of these places and even the secondary cases in those places will be traced,” she said.
“This infection is not to be feared. When the Nipah virus had struck earlier, I was one of the persons who had even gone to the houses of the infected. At that time, I was Additional Director, Public Health. So I can say that we have take the necessary precautions, this is just like any other disease. There are chances that it can spread severely, but if we take precautions, then there is no need to panic,” the DMO said. 
So far, we haven’t got confirmation that it is a positive case of Nipah. Till we get such a confirmation, we are taking whatever steps that are needed to be taken, the DMO added.