‘World’s First BSL-3 Lab Assisting Nipah Testing in Kerala’

The Biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) lab is arranged inside a bus. An expert team is also present in the State and is “prepared to deal with any kind of situation.”…reports Asian Lite News

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Sunday said that that several cases of Nipah have been found in Kerala and that the world’s first Biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) lab is assisting the testing of the virus in the state.

While speaking to the media, the Health Minister said, “Several cases of Nipah have been found in Kerala. Immediately to investigate it, Centre has sent a team. World’s first Biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) lab will assist the testing in Kerala. BSL-3 is arranged inside a bus. An expert team is also present there (Kerala) and is prepared to deal with any kind of situation.”

“The key aspect to address right now is how the primary contact contracted the infection which is still unknown,” said Indian Medical Association (IMA) Public Health Standing Committee Chairman Dr A Althaf yesterday on the Nipah outbreak in Kerala.

The first outbreak of Nipah virus in Kerala was in May 2018…The most important thing is that we still don’t know how the primary case contracted the disease. That is the key aspect we have to address right now, he told ANI.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George yesterday said that no new cases of the Nipah virus infection were reported in Kerala till Saturday afternoon after samples of 11 more people tested negative for the infectious virus.

“Those who tested positive are undergoing treatment at two private hospitals and medical college hospitals in Kerala. Medical boards have been set up in all those hospitals”, said George while speaking to ANI.

Further, she said, “All who are in treatment are under stable condition as per the report of medical boards. The child of the diseased who is Nipah positive is slightly improving its health condition but is still on the ventilator. Today we are focusing on contact tracing of the person who tested positive last day.”

The Health Minister added that the state administration has constituted 19 teams and a core team to evaluate the situation every day.

“We have assigned more ambulances to carry samples from contacts and suspects. Also, we are tracing contacts of Nipah patients in other districts. We have ensured Treatment protocol, isolation protocol and discharge protocol in hospitals,” Minister Veena George said.

A total of six persons have so far tested positive for Nipah virus in the state and two of them have succumbed to the disease.The health minister said that a total of 21 people are quarantined at the Government Medical College in Kozhikode.

Earlier, 9 affected gram panchayats in the Kozhikode area were declared as quarantine zones.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Nipah virus is caused by fruit bats and is potentially fatal to humans as well as animals. Along with respiratory illness, it is also known to cause fever, muscular pain, headache, fever, dizziness, and nausea.

State Health Minister Veena George.(Photo:Facebook)

19 Field Teams Working To Trace Contacts

Kerala Health Minister Veena George provided a significant update on the state’s response to the Nipah virus outbreak. As efforts to contain the virus continue, the Health Minister addressed the media, outlining key developments and strategies in place.

Minister Veena George began by highlighting the extensive efforts made to trace and identify individuals who may have come in contact with the infected individuals.

She stated, “Nineteen teams are actively working in the field today to trace contacts. We have nearly completed contact tracing, and the remaining contacts will be identified with the assistance of the police.”

The decision to involve the police stems from reports of individuals denying their presence in certain locations, even after being identified as potential contacts.

The Health Minister noted that utilizing CCTV footage would help establish more accurate contact tracing.

Central teams have been dispatched to the field, including experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in Chennai and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. These teams will investigate the epicentre of the 2018 Nipah outbreak, gathering crucial data and insights.

Minister Veena George also shared reassuring news regarding the health status of those currently under medical care.

She stated, “The individuals hospitalized are in stable condition. We are pleased to report that the condition of the baby affected by Nipah is also showing signs of improvement.”

One of the key aspects of containing the Nipah virus is identifying all individuals who may have had contact with the last person to test positive.

Minister Veena George emphasized the cautious approach taken, saying, “The normal incubation period for Nipah is 21 days, and we are being doubly cautious.”

To enhance understanding of the virus and its origins, a team from Pune is actively collecting samples from bats in the affected area.

Genomic sequencing of these samples will provide valuable insights into the virus’s genetic makeup and its potential transmission pathways.

The Health Minister’s update underscores the government’s commitment to swiftly and comprehensively address the Nipah virus situation in Kerala.

Authorities are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to contain the outbreak, trace contacts, and gather critical scientific data for a more informed response.

Public health remains the top priority as the state works diligently to manage this health challenge. (ANI)

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