Kerala youth tests positive for Nipah: Minister

Kochi (IANS) Kerala Health Minister K.K.Shailaja on Tuesday confirmed that the youth being treated near Kochi has tested positive for Nipah virus (NiV). She also assured that elaborate arrangements have been made to tackle the emergency and there was no need for panic

"The test results have come from the National Institute of Virology, Pune and its positive for Nipah. The health authorities have made elaborate arrangements and the medicines for this is also in stock and NIV authorities will be handing over the medicines that have come from Australia," said Shailaja and added that Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has already pledged full support.

The youth is a student who first sought treatment at two private hospitals in Thrissur, where he had gone for student internship.

"In the past two days, the health authorities have prepared a list of 86 people who have come in contact with this youth and are under observation. Of these 86 people, two have fever and one of them is being kept in isolation. Also two nurses have fever and are under observation," said Shailaja.

"The condition of the youth is stable. He is now out of any sort of support and is fine," added the Minister.

Shailaja asked people to be careful about picking fruits as bats have been identified as a carrier of this virus and said any mischief to create panic on social media will dealt with strictly.

The sample of the youth was first tested at the Virology Institute and after it turned positive, the final confirmation came from NIV Pune .

"From now on, there would be a high alert and three samples (blood, urine and throat) from every person, who show symptoms of Nipah will be taken and send to NIV Alappuzha, Pune and Manipal Laboratory," said State Health secretary Rajan Khorbagade and added that experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research is in constant touch with health authorities, here.

Last May, the Nipah (NiV) virus attack took away 12 lives, with 22 positive cases reported from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts that created a huge scare.

The Kerala government has brought in a special team of medical professionals and administrators who successfully helped combat the previous outbreak in Kozhikode. They will be helping the medical professionals in Kochi on how to go about handling the fresh outbreak.

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