Nipah Virus: Health ministry writes to Kerala Chief Secretary, suggests measures

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Union Secretary Rajesh Bhushan (file photo)
Union Secretary Rajesh Bhushan (file photo)

New Delhi [India], September 6 (ANI): The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Monday has written to Kerala Chief Secretary Dr VP Joy recommending measures to be taken to control the spread Nipah virus in the state and directed him to strengthen the hospital-based and community-based surveillance.

Based on the report submitted by the Central team of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which was deputed to Kozhikode, Rajesh Bhushan, Chief Secretary of health ministry, wrote, "Both the hospital-based and community-based surveillance needs to be strengthened. Awareness needs of Acute Enchephalitis Syndrome/Respiratory Distress and risk communicated to the public."

In the letter, Bhushan said that the central team has carried out field investigations along with District Surveillance Officer and other officials. "It also visited the epi-centre, house of the 12-year-old male diseased child, interacted with family members and others."

Recommending the measures, the union health secretary said that active search for cases to be undertaken in the containment area, as per the micro plan provided by the Central team, adding that that nearby districts like Kannur, Malappuram and Wayanad need to alerted.

He added, "The district authorities must identify primary and secondary contacts and prepare line listing of high risk and low risk contacts. All high risk contacts may be moved to identified quarantine and observed for symptoms."

Bhushan said, "Presently, NIV (Alleppy) is providing laboratory support. As per request from the State government, DG-ICMR has initiated action to establish point of care testing at VRDL, Kozhikode."

About the hospital infrastructure and logistics, the IAS officer said, "Government Medical College, Kozhikode has been identified as the treatment centre. Adequate number of single room isolation facility, negative pressure ICU may be earmarked as stand by. A referral system be established along with earmarked ambulances and trained staff. Adequate stock of Ribaverin (anti viral) and PPE should be maintained at the district level. ICMR is exploring the feasibility of getting appropriate monoclonal antibodies for treatment purposes."

Stating that a round-the-clock Control room needs to be set up for daily reporting and sharing information, he wrote, "Coordination with Animal, Health and Wild life department and other field officers may be initiated to trap and collect samples from fruit bats for virological studies."

Bhushan also said that the union health ministry is committed to extend all possible technical support to the state government in addressing the present problem in an effective manner. (ANI)

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