New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: A 12-year-old boy from Kerela's Kozhikode passed away on Sunday (September 5) after testing positive for Nipah virus infection. The boy, who hailed from Choolur in Chathamangalam panchayat, was admitted to the hospital on September 1. His samples confirmed the presence of the Nipah virus. Seventeen people on his contact list have been placed under observation and will undergo testing.

Here's all you need to know about Nipah virus and how Centre and State are gearing up against it:

What is the Nipah virus?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines the Nipah virus (NiV) as a zoonotic virus that is transmitted to people from animals and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly from person to person. In infected people, the Nipah virus causes a range of illnesses from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis. The virus can also cause severe disease in animals such as pigs.

How is the Centre planning to handle the Nipah virus?

The Central Government has rushed a team of the National Centre for Disease Control to Kerala. The team will provide technical support to the state.

It also advised some immediate public health measures which include active case search in the family, village, and areas with similar topography, especially in Malappuram. The measures also include active contact tracing for any contacts in the past 12 days, strict quarantine of the contacts and isolation of any suspects, and collection and transportation of samples for lab testing.

How is the State government planning to handle the virus?

The state government held a high-level meeting of health officials late Saturday (September 4) night following the information about the Nipah infection.

The authorities have declared a health alert in the district and cordoned off about three kilometers around the house of the deceased child. Pazhoor of Chathamangalam panchayat has been fully closed and nearby wards of Nayarkuzhy, Koolimad, Puthiyadam wards were partially closed. In addition, the police have been deployed to restrict vehicles and people moving in or out from these places.

Health Minister Veena George said that those in the primary contact list of the deceased don’t show any symptoms but are being monitored.

“Three samples - plasma, CSF, and serum - were found infected. He was admitted to the hospital with a heavy fever four days ago. But on Saturday, his condition became worse. We had sent his samples for testing the day before yesterday,” she said. "Neighbouring Kannur and Malappuram districts to remain cautious," George further added.

Meanwhile, the last time the Nipah virus was reported in Kerala was in 2019 in Kochi. In 2018, an outbreak in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts had claimed 17 lives.

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Posted By: Sugandha Jha