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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Kerala Eases Restrictions in Containment Zones as Nipah Virus Cases Are Controlled

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The Kerala government announced on Tuesday that it will relax restrictions in areas designated as containment zones due to the absence of new Nipah virus cases reported on that day. The state government revealed that no fresh Nipah positive cases had been recorded in the state since September 16, and 218 samples from individuals on the high-risk contact list had tested negative for the virus up to that date.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George provided details about the Nipah virus cases in the state, stating that six cases had been confirmed, resulting in two fatalities, while four individuals, including a nine-year-old boy, were currently undergoing treatment.

Veena George reassured the public that the situation was under control, leading to the government’s decision to ease restrictions in containment zones established on September 13. Kerala Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas, who joined the press briefing, announced that relaxations would soon be introduced in 58 containment wards in the district. The final decision on these relaxations would be based on recommendations from an expert panel and made by the District Collector.

Regarding the transmission of the virus from bats to humans, Minister George explained that surveys conducted by the government and the ICMR’s bat surveillance team indicated that Nipah was transmitted through the saliva of these mammals in places where they feed.

Riyas added that online classes in educational institutions in the district were proceeding effectively, with a spirit of cooperation evident between the public and authorities.

As of Monday evening, 1,270 contacts had been traced, some with the assistance of the police, and over 47,000 homes had been placed under surveillance in the district.

Health Minister Veena George reported that six cases of the Nipah virus had been confirmed in the state, resulting in two deaths, while four other individuals, including a nine-year-old boy, were receiving treatment.

George also shared information on studies conducted by ICMR and WHO, which identified Kerala and eight other Indian states as having a probability of Nipah occurrence. She explained that after 2018, surveillance efforts had identified bats as the source of Nipah infection. The Nipah virus found in Kerala was identified as the Indian Genotype (I Genotype), similar to the strain found in Bangladesh. Kerala has two strains of Nipah Virus, one Malaysian and the other Bangladeshi, according to the health minister.

In conclusion, Minister George highlighted the functioning of the 19 core committees responsible for defense activities and the ongoing testing of saliva samples from bats by a central team. Efforts were also underway to include any previously overlooked individuals in the contact list. She noted that the central team examining disaster preparedness in the state would depart that day.

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