New Delhi: Kerala is in panic after a 23-year-old student from Kochi’s Ernakulam was tested positive for Nipah virus in the results that came from National Institute of Virology in Pune, confirmed the officials.
The deadly brain-damaging Nipah virus had claimed 17 lives last year.
The National Institute of Virology in Pune, which tested the man’s blood samples, confirmed the presence of the virus in the engineering student.
“The confirmation came in today morning. But there is no need to panic. From the time we suspected this was Nipah, we have put all measures into place,” said Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja.
According to media reports, four more people, including two nurses, are down with fever.
Two of them had reportedly come in contact with the 23-year-old man. Over 80 people, among them 22 students, were put under surveillance on Monday.
Earlier, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that his government was taking precautionary actions and closely monitoring the situation after a suspected case of Nipah virus was reported in Kochi in Kerala.
Nipah virus is transmitted from animals to humans and then spreads through people to people contact. It is associated with fatal encephalitis and respiratory illness. In initial stages, it causes fever, headache, muscle pain, dizziness and nausea. There is no known vaccine against the virus.
According to the World Health Organisation, 18 Nipah cases were reported in Kerala last year; 17 of them died. The first death was reported on May 19, 2018. Since then, more than 2,600 contacts were identified and followed up with during the outbreak.
The last known outbreak in the subcontinent before Kerala last year was in 2004 in Bangladesh. The virus was first identified among pigs in Kampung Sungai Nipah in Malaysia in 1998.