Kerala:Eight samples from close contacts of a 12 -year-old boy who died of the Nipah virus on Sunday, tested negative on Tuesday, said state health minister Veena George in Kozhikode (north Kerala), adding that five more results are expected by the evening from the National Institute of Virology (Pune).
“It is a great relief for us. Among the eight are the boy’s parents and medical officials. We will localise and contain the outbreak as we did in 2018,” said the minister. Kozhikode has reported a Nipah infection for the second time in three years–in 2018 the virus claimed 17 lives in the district.
The minister said the health department is observing all 251 contacts of the boy who dies of the virus–54 among them are in the high risk category—closely. The government had also suspended the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination drive in Kozhikode and its outskirts in view of the new threat.
“Efforts are on to trace the source of infection. Experts have recovered half-eaten rambutan fruits from the boy’s house. They also found a fruit bat habitat near their house,” the minister said, adding a team from the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory from Bhopal will be in the city soon. Fruit bats are considered to be main carrier and reservoir of the virus.