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11 persons show Nipah symptoms; 30 healthcare workers isolated

A special laboratory under the aegis of the National Institute of Virology lab, Pune, had been set up at the MCH, Kozhikode

The number of people symptomatic for Nipah infection rose to 11 on Monday, a day after Mohammed Hashim, 12, of Pazhoor near Chathamangalam in Kozhikode district of Kerala succumbed to the virus at a private hospital here.

Health Minister Veena George told the media late in the evening that among those symptomatic are Hashim’s parents, Vayoli Aboobacker and Wahida, their close relatives and healthcare workers.

Explained | Nipah, a highly pathogenic paramyxovirus

“Their condition is stable. The boy’s mother had fever on Sunday night, but it has subsided now,” Ms. George said. Persons on the contact list of the deceased has gone up to 251, which, Ms. George said, could increase further . Of the total contacts, 129 are healthcare workers. Of the 54 high-risk contacts, 30 are healthcare workers and have all been quarantined at the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH), Kozhikode.

“The boy was taken to at least four healthcare institutions, including the MCH, Kozhikode, before being admitted to the private hospital where he died. That is why a majority of the contacts are healthcare workers,” the Minister said. Two of them are from Malappuram and Kannur districts, because of which an alert was sounded in those places on Sunday.

Special lab ready

The Minister said a special laboratory under the aegis of the National Institute of Virology lab, Pune, had been set up at the MCH, Kozhikode. It would have facilities to conduct both point-of-care and RT-PCR tests. The samples of three symptomatic persons would be tested here and those from eight others were being sent to Pune. The results from Pune are expected late on Monday.

Meanwhile, officials from the Department of Animal Husbandry collected the blood and oral swab samples of two goats from the premises of the deceased.

The goats were reportedly unwell recently. The samples will be examined at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh to find out if the animals had been infected.

Some half-eaten rambutan fruits too were collected from the neighbourhood of the boy’s house in Pulparamb near Koolimad after it was revealed that he had eaten them. The boy’s parents had informed the special team of the National Centre for Disease Control that the area had the presence of fruit bats, considered to be the natural carriers of the virus.

Another habitat of bats had been identified across the river which flows near the area. A special team from the NIV would reach Chathamangalam on Wednesday to collect the body fluid samples of fruit bats from the area, Ms. George said.

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