New Delhi: Six persons admitted to a quarantine facility at the Government Medical College in Kerala’s Ernakulam have tested negative for the potentially deadly Nipah virus, a senior Health Ministry official said Thursday.
The condition of the college student, diagnosed with Nipah infection, is stable and a total of 314 persons who were in touch with the infected person have been kept under observation, the official said. “The blood and serum samples of all six suspected patients have tested negative for Nipah virus infection,” the official said.
The Union Health Ministry has deployed a six-member team comprising an epidemiologist to conduct contact tracing for early detection of suspects and review of isolation facilities.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who reviewed the public health measures put in place in Kerala on Wednesday, said the situation is under control and people need not panic.
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During the review meeting, the Centre also discussed SOPs for quarantine of symptomatic contacts, sample collection or testing and dedicated isolation facility with trained health staff and epidemiological investigation by multi-disciplinary central team to ascertain the possible source of infection and history of exposure.
A designated control room has been established at the district collector’s office and an isolation ward established at the Government Medical College Ernakulam, the Health Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. Isolation facilities have also been ensured at medical colleges at Calicut, Thrissur and Kottayam, it said.
All healthcare facilities have been asked to ensure high index of suspicion in cases with similar symptoms and also ensure availability of isolation and emergency management facilities before referral, the ministry said.
According to the WHO, Nipah virus is a newly emerging disease that can be transmitted from its reservoir (natural wildlife host), the flying foxes (fruit bats), to both animals and humans. Symptoms range from asymptomatic infection, acute respiratory infection and encephalitis.
Infected people initially develop influenza-like symptoms of fever, headache, vomiting and sore throat. This can be followed by dizziness, drowsiness, altered consciousness, and neurological signs that indicate acute encephalitis.