Nipah toll in Kerala now 16, Health Minister warns of new outbreak
Kozhikode: A With two more deaths in the past two days in this Kerala district, the death toll from Nipah virus has risen to 16 as state Health Minister K.K. Shailaja on Friday warned of a possible second outbreak.
Noting that all those in contact with the affected are still in the incubation period of the virus and hence utmost caution has to be maintained, Shailaja, in the statement, underlined that even though there need be no fear or panic, as a matter of caution, all possible precautionary steps should be taken.
"We had indicated at the outset itself, there could be a possible second outbreak and the vulnerable are those who would have in come in contact with the affected. All such people have to be closely watched... tests will reveal only at the appropriate time when the symptoms of Nipah virus surface, so all those who have come in direct contact with the earlier affected have to see they get in touch with the special control room set up in Kozhikode," she said.
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Shailaja said till now out of the 18 who tested positive for Nipah, 16 have died but the remaining two however are recovering.
The new direction came after two fresh deaths were reported on Thursday. Both were undergoing treatment at the state-run hospital at Balussery near here.
On Friday, all six doctors and other medical professionals at the hospital were asked to take leave and rest.
State Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran, who hails from this district, said the need of the hour is for people to be very cautious as even when things are under control, people have to cooperate.
Nipah virus is transmitted to humans through infected fruit bats, pigs or other Nipah-infected persons.
Perambara, a suburban town near here, has been the worst-affected as the first case was reported from here and four people of a family died. To find out the source of the virus, a number of samples from a particular variety of bats were taken, but they turned out to be negative.
A second set of samples from fruit bats is currently being tested at High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory in Bhopal and the results are now awaited.
Meanwhile, taking into account the gravity of the situation, the Public Service Commission on Friday has postponed all its examination till June 16. And while the new academic year began on Friday in all schools in the state, schools in Kozhikode will open only on June 5.