Doctors and patients wear safety masks as a precautionary measure after reports of the Nipah virus outbreak at a Medical college in Kozhikode (PTI)
Doctors and patients wear safety masks as a precautionary measure after reports of the Nipah virus outbreak at a Medical college in Kozhikode (PTI)

Centre gears up to contain re-emergence of Nipah virus in Kerala

  • The union health ministry has already deployed a central team with six officers for epidemiological investigation protocol
  • The team will conduct contact tracing for early detection of suspects, test protocols for suspects and review isolation facilities

New Delhi: Soon after the National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune confirmed a suspected case as a Nipah virus disease infection, the ministry of health and family welfare on Tuesday convened an urgent meeting. The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan, spoke to the Health Minister of Kerala, K. K. Shailaja, and discussed the situation and assured all support from the Centre.

The union health ministry has already deployed a central team with six officers for epidemiological investigation protocol. The team will conduct contact tracing for early detection of suspects, test protocols for suspects and review isolation facilities. The ministry has also established a control room (011-23978046) and activated the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Strategic Health Operations Centre (SHOC).

A team from NIV Pune with monoclonal antibodies is being sent to Ernakulam, Kerala. Another team from NIV for testing bats for Nipah virus is being dispatched on Tuesday.

“Today morning I have called a meeting at my residence with all the officers, including the health secretary. Yesterday we had dispatched a team of six officers to Kerala," said Harsh Vardhan.

“I have assured the Kerala Health Minister of all possible support from the central government. We are also in touch with the wildlife department to seek their help in subjecting bats for testing of the virus. I don't think there is any need to panic," he said.

In parallel, the Kerala government has initiated contact tracing and surveillance, standard capacity building for health functionaries, ambulance fleet drivers and others. The state has also directed infection control activities in hospitals and deployed dedicated trained teams and rapid response teams to handle cases.

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