State health dept on high alert after Nipah outbreak in Kerala

State health dept on high alert after Nipah outbreak in Kerala

Officials of the animal husbandry and forest departments collect bats from a well of a house after the outbreak of the Nipah Virus near Perambra in Kozhikode, Kerala, on Monday. PTI

The state health department is on high alert following the outbreak of the Nipah Virus (NiV) across the border in Kozhikode, Kerala, that claimed many lives over the past few days.

On Monday, health department officials held a meeting to assess the preparedness to handle the virus, if cases are reported in the state.

Ratan Khelkar, Mission Director, National Health Mission, said there will be increased surveillance in the districts bordering Kerala such as Mysuru, Kodagu, Chamarajanagar and Dakshina Kannada.

“Surveillance is mainly on identifying those exhibiting flu-like symptoms and treating them in isolation. As of now, there are no incidences reported, but the health workers have been sensitised about the Nipah Virus,” he added. 

Health workers have been asked to identify anyone with high fever and flu-like symptoms. Passengers entering the state from Kerala and Andhra Pradesh will be watched closely. An ICE (Intensive care experience) centre will be set up to create awareness and to answer all the FAQs about the virus.

Khelkar said the 104 health helpline will be functional by Tuesday afternoon, offering advisory on symptoms of the viral attack, treatments and other details. He further added that the health department will get in touch with the experts at the Veterinary University to check the zoonatic disease.

Dr V Ravi, professor with the Department of Neurovirology in NIMHANS, said the Nipah Virus is deadlier than H1N1 as it causes encephalitis, which results in the patient’s death.