College student in Kochi suspected to have Nipah infection, says Kerala Health Minister

A 23-year-old college student, admitted to a private hospital in Kochi, is suspected to have been infected with the Nipah virus but a final confirmation is awaited from the National Institute of Virology in Pune, the Kerala government Monday said. Health Minister K K Shailaja said all precautions have been taken and isolation wards set up at the Kalamassery Medical College Hospital in Kochi. Earlier also, there have been suspected cases and samples sent for tests but results had turned out to be negative, she said. In this case also the patients samples have been sent to NIV, Pune, and the government is awaiting results. Only after we get the report from the institute can it be confirmed if the patient is infected by the virus or not, the minister told reporters here. The student, hailing from Ernakulam district, had studied in a college in Thodupuzha in Idukki and had stayed in Thrissur recently in connection with a camp. According to Thrissur District Medical Officer, Dr Reena, the student was in Thrissur only for four days and had been suffering from fever. There were 16 other students with him and six of them, who came in direct contact with him, are under observation, she said. The Idukki district medical authorities said the college in Thodupuzha, where the student is studying, is also under observation. The minister said there was no need for people to panic as the government has taken all precautionary measures and asked all private hospitals to inform them if suspected cases are reported. Government, private and peripheral hospitals have been asked to be cautious, she said, adding a high-level meeting of health officials would be held in Kochi this afternoon. According to state government figures, the Nipah virus had claimed 17 lives – 14 in Kozhikode and three in neighbouring Malappuram in May last year.


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