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Kerala confirms 1st Nipah infection in India this year

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Nearly a year after the outbreak in Kozhikode and Malappuram, the deadly Nipah has resurfaced in Kerala. It has been confirmed that a 23-year-old college student here is infected.

This year, apart from the 23-year-old student, five more people are suspected to have contracted the deadly virus. Of them, four, including three nurses, were in contact with the student who has been undergoing treatment at a Kochi-based private hospital. The fourth person studied with the youth.

All the five persons suspected to have contracted the virus have been admitted to the isolation ward of the Government Medical College Hospital at Kalamassery in Ernakulam. They had complained of fever and sore throat. The condition of the five persons as well as the 23-year-old student is stable, authorities said.

“None of the family members of the 23-year-old patient showed any sign of Nipah fever,” Kerala health minister K K Shailaja said. She said the condition of the student “is stable and he is not on life-support system, though often he complains of fever and discomfort.”

The Centre has dispatched another team from NIV for testing bats. “We are in touch with the wildlife and forest department as the testing of bats for the virus have to be carried out. I do not think there is any need to panic,” Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said.

Earlier, authorities had sent the youth’s samples to NIV for reconfirmation after labs at Alappuzha and Manipal confirmed the presence of the virus.

The Centre has deployed a six-member team in Kerala for epidemiological investigation. It will conduct contact tracing for early detection of suspects, test protocols for suspects besides reviewing isolation facilities.

Meanwhile, officials of the Kerala health department have identified 311 people who had been in contact with the index and suspected cases. They have been quarantined for 21 days, the incubation period of NiV, at their respective residences.

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