The 23-year-old North Paravur native, who was the only person infected, was discharged from hospital on Tuesday.

Ernakulam district officially declared Nipah-free
Health Nipah Virus Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 14:06

After successfully fighting the rare Nipah virus, which infected a 23-year-old resident of North Paravur in Ernakulam, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on Tuesday officially declared the district Nipah-free. The student, who was admitted in a private hospital in Kochi for the past 54 days, was discharged prior to the declaration.

“The speciality of Kerala is that we unite in sacrificing things to fight a problem. That is why we were able to defeat Nipah,” said Health Minister KK Shailaja during a ceremony in Kochi to declare Ernakulam district Nipah-free.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), currently there are no drugs or vaccines specific for the Nipah virus infection. Combating this deadly disease on its second emergence without even a single casualty is something the health sector in the state can be proud about.

With persistent fever for a few days, the 23-year-old was admitted to a multispeciality hospital in Kochi on May 30. A test result from a private laboratory in Bengaluru conducted by the hospital pointed to Nipah. An official declaration about the infection was made on June 4 after reconfirming the results with the National Institute of Virology in Pune.

With the experience of handling last year’s Nipah outbreak – which was also the first in the state – the health department pulled in all resources possible to prevent the spread of the disease further. More than 300 people who were in direct and indirect contact with the student were traced and convinced that they need to be in quarantine at home. Isolation wards were set up in the Kalamassery Medical College in Ernakulam and in various other government hospitals across the state. Though in the subsequent days some were isolated at Kalamassery Medical College, nobody tested positive for the disease.

“Last year when we heard that it was Nipah that has infected members of a family in Kozhikode, we were shocked. But it was not a time for us to sit back in fear. We contacted health specialists across the world to find out what could be done to combat Nipah. We came to know that it was a medicine called Ribavirin,” the Health Minister added during the function.

About 17 lives were lost in last year’s outbreak in the state, but two of the patients who were infected were treated and saved. “This experience of fighting and triumphing over Nipah gave confidence to the health sector. The whole medical fraternity who stood strong and stepped in to fight the disease when it re-emerged, from the cleaning staff of the hospitals to the doctors, they are the real heroes,” minister said.

Read: Kerala’s successful fight against Nipah: Affected youth to be discharged on Tuesday

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