Kerala Health Minister Confirms Bangladesh Variant of Nipah Virus; Response Measures Underway

Kerala’s Health Minister, Veena George, has confirmed that the strain of the Nipah virus detected in Kerala is the Bangladesh variant, which is known to spread from human to human and carries a high mortality rate, despite being less infectious. The announcement follows the confirmation of Nipah infections in four individuals in Kozhikode district.

In response to this development, teams from the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, are set to establish a mobile laboratory at Kozhikode Medical College for Nipah testing and bat surveys. Additionally, a group of epidemiologists from Chennai will arrive in Kerala to conduct a comprehensive survey.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has agreed to provide the necessary monoclonal antibodies for Nipah patient treatment.

The Health Minister emphasized that various preventive measures have been taken, including surveillance, contact tracing, categorization of individuals into low and high-risk groups, the establishment of isolation facilities, demarcation of containment zones, and the procurement of medicines from ICMR. Seven village panchayats in Kozhikode district have been declared containment zones.

The government has urged the public to remain calm and cooperate with health and safety measures to prevent further spread of the virus. The confirmed cases include a nine-year-old boy, and the initial death on August 30 was later attributed to Nipah, leading to heightened vigilance and response efforts.

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