Nipah virus strain in Kerala is the Bangladesh variant that spreads from humans is characterised by high mortality despite lower infectivity. The virus, for which there is no vaccine, spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats, pigs, or humans and has a mortality rate of up to 75% among those infected.
In response to the Nipah virus infection, all educational institutions in Kozhikode, Kerala, will remain closed for a week, until the following Sunday, September 24. This closure encompasses schools, professional colleges, and tuition centers. The district administration has assured that online classes will continue throughout the week.
Health Minister Veena George has provided an update on the situation, indicating that the contact list of infected individuals currently comprises 1,080 people, with 130 new additions on September15. Among them, 327 are health workers.
In addition to Kozhikode, 29 individuals in other districts are listed as contacts of Nipah-infected people. Of these, 22 are from Malappuram, one from Wayanad, and three each from Kannur and Thrissur. Among those listed, 175 are considered in the high-risk category, while 122 are healthcare workers.
The Health Minister noted that the number of people on the contact list is expected to rise as the test result of the person who passed away on August 30 has come back positive, marking it as the index case of Nipah in the district.
As of the current situation, there have been six confirmed cases of Nipah Virus in the state. Furthermore, 17 individuals who attended the cremation of the man who died on August 30 have been placed under isolation, and four active cases are undergoing treatment in hospitals.
All hospitals treating Nipah cases are required to establish a medical board, which must convene twice daily and submit reports to the health department. This directive is based on the infectious disease control protocols of the state.
During a press briefing held in the national capital on September 15, ICMR Director General Rajiv Bahl revealed that India had previously obtained some doses of monoclonal antibody from Australia in 2018. India will acquire an additional 20 doses of monoclonal antibody from Australia for treatment of Nipah virus infection.
The Karnataka government issued a circular on September 14 advising the general public to refrain from unnecessary travel to the Nipah-affected areas in Kerala. They recommended heightened surveillance in the bordering districts of Karnataka, including Kodagu, Dakshin Kannada, Chamrajanagara, and Mysore, as well as at entry points to the state.
Kerala Health Minister Veena George advised the public to wear masks, maintain social distance, and seek medical assistance if experiencing symptoms such as cold, fever, headache or cough.
Studies by the World Health Organization and ICMR have highlighted the susceptibility of the entire state to such infections, particularly in forested areas, and have emphasised the need for heightened precautions.