2 Healthcare Workers Showing Nipah Virus Symptoms: Kerala Health Minister

2 Healthcare Workers Showing Nipah Virus Symptoms: Kerala Health Minister
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Two healthcare workers, who are among the 20 high-risk contacts of the deceased 12-year old boy, have been identified with symptoms of Nipah virus infection, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said here on Sunday.

She said all the 20 high-risk contacts will be shifted to the Kozhikode Medical College by evening.

"We have identified 188 contacts till now. The surveillance team have marked 20 of them as high-risk contacts. Two of these high risk contacts have symptoms. Both are health workers. One works with a private hospital, while the other is a staff member of Kozhikode Medical College hospital," she told reporters after chairing a high-level meeting to take stock of the situation.

Other contacts of the child have been asked to remain in isolation. The pay ward at the Medical College Hospital has been completely converted into a dedicated Nipah ward, she said.

The boy died at a hospital here early Sunday. The samples of the boy, which were sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, confirmed presence of the virus.

The Minister said the three km radius from the child"s house has been made a strict containment zone. The adjacent areas are also under strict surveillance.

"We have asked the Pune NIV authorities to arrange a point-of-care testing facility at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital. The NIV team will reach here and will do the needful. If in the initial test, the patient is found positive, then the sample will be sent to Pune NIV again for confirmation. That result will be made available within 12 hours," George added.

She also said the meeting took stock of the availability of the medicines in the hospital. The health department will also publish the child"s route map indicating time and his location in the last two weeks.

The Health department has opened two dedicated phone lines at the Nipah ward of the medical college hospital –0495-2382500 and 04952382800.

The Minister said 16 teams have been formed for various purposes including contact tracing, surveillance, tracing the cause among other things.

The child developed fever on August 27 and was first admitted to a local clinic. Later, he was taken to a private hospital from where he was brought to MCH. However, he was shifted to another private hospital afterwards.

The Health department has traced all the close contacts of the child including the hospital staff. PTI

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