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After a 12-year-old boy in Kerala succumbed to the Nipah virus, the authorities in Tamil Nadu have stepped up vigil in all border districts. 

The health authorities said that they are monitoring people who arrive from Kerala. Coimbatore district collector Dr GS Sameeran visited the Walayar check post on Monday to check the monitoring arrangements. 

"The health department has issued some instructions including how to identify Nipah, Zika, or Dengue virus. Patients with high body temperature will have to undergo certain procedures and health check-ups," said Sameeran, adding that they are taking all necessary precautions on the border.

People coming from Kerala to Tamil Nadu have to go through 13 checkpoints. People with negative RT-PCR reports will be permitted to enter the state.

On Sunday, Tamil Nadu minister for medical and family welfare Ma Subramanian had said: “Already we have been monitoring the nine districts that border Kerala. We have been conducting door-to-door awareness campaigns in the districts on the spread of Zika virus... In the wake of the Nipah virus, we have issued an advisory to district health officials to expedite measures like holding fever camps."

A 12-year old boy had died on Sunday due to Nipah virus infection at a hospital in Kerala's Kozhikode.

"We are continuously monitoring the people who enter Tamil Nadu. People need not panic about the Nipah virus. But at the same time they should not show negligence (in following the government advisory)," he cautioned.

Contact tracing in Kerala 

Stressing that the health department's priority is to strengthen contact tracing and determine the source of infection, Kerala health minister Veena George on Monday said there are chances that the 12-year old boy may have come in contact with more people.

George, who met the media here, said the samples of seven people among the 20 high-risk contacts of the child have been sent to the Pune NIV for testing.

"The most important job is to strengthen contact tracing. We are giving special training to our field workers. It is equally important to find the source of infection. Whether this child is the first to get infected or from where this child was infected. We traced 188 contacts yesterday. There can be more contacts. We are trying to locate everyone," she said.

She said there are chances of an increase in the number of contacts as the parents have taken the child to a clinic first, then to a private hospital, then to the medical college and from there to another private hospital.

Nipah Virus is a zoonotic virus -- it is transmitted from animals to humans -- fruit bats and pigs -- and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly between people.

Regarding its treatment, the professor of department of medicine at AIIMS, Dr Ashutosh Biswas, said: “We do not have specific treatment. Fruit bats live in a specific geographical territory. If they fly to other places, naturally this virus can be transmitted."

 

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