Kerala govt gears up to prevent spread of Nipah virus

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Health Minister K. K. Shailaja on Friday said that her department is fully geared to prevent the Nipah virus from spreading.

“We are getting ready to tackle the second phase as there are chances that the virus has spread as it is contagious,” the state health minister said.

She also stated that her department is ensuring the safety of the hospital staff.

“We have imported materials to keep our hospital staff safe and we are even training them,” she added.

So far, the Nipah scare has claimed 16 lives in Kerala.

The scare, created by the occurrence of the virus, has also affected the tourism in the state.

However, locals and tourists believe that the situation has been falsely portrayed by the media.

News of the presence of the virus was first reported from Kozhikode earlier this week, and now, at least 16 deaths have been confirmed to have taken place due to the “rare and deadly” virus.

As the death toll is rising each day, a wave of panic has gripped the state, since the infection spreads through human contact.

Earlier, the state health department had issued an advisory for people travelling to the state and urged travellers to be extra cautious while visiting Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur districts.

A similar note of caution has also been issued by the Himachal Pradesh health ministry after more than 18 dead bats were discovered in the premises of a government school in Nahan.

For those unversed, Nipah virus, spread by fruit bats, causes communicable disease and is fatal for both animals and humans.

The symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation and mental confusion.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), these signs and symptoms can progress to coma within 24-48 hours.