Nipah death: 251 contacts have been traced, and 11 people are symptomatic in Kerala’s Kozhikode city
12-year-old boy from Chathamangalam died following Nipah infection followed which the number of his contacts, traced by the health department, rose to 251, of which 11 are symptomatic. On Monday evening, health minister Veena George said
12-year-old boy from Chathamangalam died following Nipah infection followed which the number of his contacts, traced by the health department, rose to 251, of which 11 are symptomatic.
On Monday evening, health minister Veena George said the condition of all symptomatic contacts, including parents, relatives of the boy and healthcare workers, was stable after reviewing the condition. She said the test results of eight symptomatic contacts will be available from National Institute of Virology, Pune late on Monday night and will be announced on Tuesday morning. She also stated that it was a relief that symptoms of high-risk contacts have not intensified. Out of 54 highrisk contacts, thirty eight people were admitted at Nipah ward of Kozhikode Medical College for observation. “Of the 251 contacts, 129 are health workers and 30 of the 54 high-risk contacts are also healthcare workers,” she said, adding that the relatively-large number of healthcare workers in the contact list was due to the fact that the boy was taken to one clinic and four hospitals, including the medical college. Meanwhile, a temporary Nipah testing facility was set up at the medical college by personnel from NIV, Pune who arrived on Monday. Both TrueNat point of care testing and RT-PCR testing of symptomatic as well as asymptomatic contacts can be conducted at the new facility from Monday night. “If the samples tested are positive, they will have to be retested at NIV, Pune but setting up this facility will help us start treatment without delays. We will conduct tests on the remaining three symptomatic patients at medical college and the results will be available within three hours,” George said.
Meanwhile, a team of officials from animal husbandry department (AHD) visited the boy’s home and investigated nearby areas where they found that bats used to come to two Rambutan trees located in a nearby plot. The team collected samples of fruits, suspected to be half-eaten by bats or birds, for testing. Also, a habitat of bats was found across the river and nine samples were taken from there. The AHD team also collected blood and samples from a goat reared by the boy’s family. AHD officials stated that there were no previous reports of Nipah infection through goats but testing was being done following reports that the boy had looked after the goat which was sick two months ago. On Wednesday, the minister said that a team from Bhopal will reach Kozhikode, as an initiative to identify the source of the infection. She said the number of contacts could also increase as the department had launched an intensive tracing exercise. Of the 251 contacts, 250 are primary contacts while one is a secondary contact. All contacts, except two healthcare workers from Malappuram and Kannur, were from Kozhikode. Also intensive house-to-house fever surveillance will be conducted in the containment zone, an area of 3km around the house of the boy, from Tuesday. George said a state-level Nipah Control Cell has been set up at Thiruvananthapuram and DMO’s of other districts attended a training programme .
She added that the state medical board has given the nod to include Remdesivir for treatment along with Ribavirin. She said that steps were taken by ICMR to expedite the procurement of Human Monoclonal Antibody drug from Australia and it can be brought within two days once the required approvals are granted.
An e-health software has been developed to aid Nipah surveillance and analysis. The access will be limited to health department staff. Also, 317 health workers in Kozhikode were provided Nipah training and awareness . Health department suspended Covid vaccination for 48 hours in Kozhikode.