New Delhi: A strengthening of both the hospital and community-based surveillance and more intensive contact tracing are among many recommendations made today by the Union Health Ministry to Kerala following the detection of the deadly nipah virus again in the state. The Centre has, however, said there is no need for alarm over the matter.
In a letter to Kerala Chief Secretary Dr VP Joy, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan today reiterated the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry’s commitment to extend all possible technical support to the state government.
A team of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) visited Kerala’s Kozhikode district yesterday following reports of the nipah outbreak there. Based on its report, the ministry has made some recommendations.
“Both the hospital-based and community-based surveillance need to be strengthened. Awareness needs to be created among the field formations for early detection of cases of acute encephalitis syndrome/respiratory distress and risk communicated to the public,” Mr Bhushan’s letter said.
“Active search for cases need to be undertaken in the containment area, as per the micro plan provided by the Central Team.”
The districts of Kannur, Malappuram, and Wayanad, neighbouring Kozhikode, need to be put on alert, it said.
“I had a discussion with concerned officials in the ministry of health. They’re keeping a close watch on the situation and they don’t think the situation is out of control or alarming,” said V Muraleedharan, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, according to an ANI report.
Kerala Health Minister Veena George yesterday said a 12-year-old boy had died at a Kozhikode hospital due to nipah virus infection. The police have cordoned off an area of three kilometres radius around the house of the boy.
The Kerala government, which has put the state on a high alert, today issued a protocol to be followed by government and private hospitals on this front, PTI reported.
“The prime objective is surveillance, testing and treatment of the patients. As part of surveillance, effective contact tracing and quarantine will be done. Treatment protocol will be strictly followed and it will be constantly monitored,” Ms George said in a release.