Nipah virus: Health department tightens restrictions in Kerala | 1,192 infected

Nipah virus: Health department tightens restrictions in Kerala
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Nipah virus: Health department tightens restrictions in Kerala

All 38 wards of Feroke Municipality and seven wards of Kozhikode Municipal Corporation have been declared as containment zones, the collector said.
The Kerala health department on Saturday tightened restrictions in Kozhikode district in the wake of the sixth case of Nipah virus being reported the previous day, officials familiar with the matter said. No fresh infections were reported on Saturday, as 11 more samples of โ€˜high-riskโ€™ contacts sent for testing turned out to be โ€œnegative.โ€

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Health workers wearing protective gears shift a man with symptoms of Nipah virus to an isolation ward at a government hospital, in Kozhikode in Kerala on Saturday. (AFP)

Kozhikode district collector A Geetha ordered the closure of all educational institutions in the district including schools, colleges, tuition centres and professional coaching centres till September 23 and advised that online classes be held for students until then. The development comes as various parts of the district have been declared as containment zones, making it difficult for students from these areas to reach schools and other institutions.

The district administration also declared more areas as containment zones, after a 39-year-old man, resident of Cheruvannur, which falls within the Kozhikode Municipal Corporation limits, tested positive on Friday. With all the other five patients hailing from rural areas of the district, this is for the first time that the cases of the virus have been reported close to the city.

In an order issued on Saturday, the collector said all 38 wards of Feroke Municipality and seven wards of Kozhikode Municipal Corporation have been declared as containment zones. With this, the total number of wards under lockdown in the district have touched 98.

As per protocols in containment zones, all roads to such areas would be blocked and only shops selling essential food items and medicines would be allowed to operate for a specific duration in a day. Police personnel would be deployed to guard entry and exits and volunteers designated to attend to the concerns of the residents in such zones.

The department of animal welfare in a statement asked the public not to disturb the habitations or scare away fruit bats which are considered the natural carriers of the deadly Nipah virus. Engaging in such attempts may result in the bats releasing excretions or other body fluids containing the Nipah virus load.

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Health minister Veena George said, โ€œNo secondary waves of the disease have occurred till now, which is a good thing. But more samples of symptomatic contacts remain to be tested.โ€

โ€œIn general, our work and the information that we have received so far indicate that the outbreak is within control. We have been able to prove that the 47-year-old who died on August 30 has spread the disease to others. CCTV footage has shown that the 40-year-old who died on Sept 11 had contact with the 47-year-old. So the findings of the health department about how the disease spread have been proved right,โ€ George told reporters on Saturday evening.

The contact list of infected people has been updated and now has 1,192 names. A total of 22,208 homes were visited in containment zones as part of fever surveillance.

Reference

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