Kerala Receives Monoclonal Antibody for Nipah Treatment; Health Minister Addresses Concerns

The Kerala government announced on Thursday that the monoclonal antibody required for treating Nipah virus infections has arrived in the state. State Health Minister Veena George disclosed that discussions were held between the Principal Secretary of the Health Department and the Union Health Ministry, resulting in the delivery of the monoclonal antibody.

Minister George emphasized that although the medicine has not yet been clinically proven, it currently stands as the sole available antiviral treatment for Nipah virus infection. The stability of this medication was a subject of discussion with a central expert committee, which will determine the next course of action.

In addressing concerns in the state Assembly, Minister George reassured the public regarding the Nipah outbreak in Kozhikode district. She urged caution in daily activities but stressed that there is no need for apprehension.

The Nipah virus, known for its neurological effects, has claimed the lives of two individuals and infected three others in Kozhikode district. Notably, a 24-year-old health worker became the fifth confirmed Nipah case in Kerala during this recent outbreak. The condition of a nine-year-old boy among the three infected individuals remains critical.

In response to the outbreak, educational institutions in Kozhikode district were temporarily closed, with the option for online classes. However, university exams will proceed as scheduled. A 24-hour control room was established in the neighboring Wayanad district, along with 15 core committees to oversee prevention and surveillance efforts.

The virus strain identified in the state is the Bangladesh variant, with a high mortality rate but lower infectiousness through human-to-human transmission. The government has cautioned that the entire state of Kerala is susceptible to such infections, particularly forest-dwelling communities, and the latest Nipah case originated within close proximity to a jungle area. Approximately 11 wards were designated as containment zones in Kozhikode district as a precautionary measure.

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