The Nipah Virus has claimed the lives of at least 17 people in Kerala, with many others having been quarantined. While it has been confirmed to be present in certain districts of the state (mainly Kozhikode), the fear of contracting the infection has spread to other states in the country. Here are a few states where the rumours are unfounded:
It was earlier reported that a young man, a native of Kerala travelled to Goa and later admitted himself to a hospital over fears that he had developed symptoms which were possibly indicative of Nipah. The man was admitted to Goa Medical College and Hospital, and was kept under observation in an isolation ward.
His samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and came back negative for Nipah on May 30.
In late May, there were reports that two people who visited Kerala had admitted themselves to hospitals in Hyderabad fearing they had contracted the infection. A 25-year-old man with symptoms similar to Nipah had been admitted to the Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM) in the city, while another was admitted to Nizamâ€™s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS). Officials sent samples from both the patients to be tested for Nipah and both returned negative. Telangana Director of Medical Education Dr K Ramesh Reddy informed the press that there was no need to panic.
On June 3, speculations of the virus having reached Andhra Pradesh began doing the rounds after it was reported that a nurse was admitted to SVR Ruia Government General Hospital in Tirupati. Chittoor District Collector P S Pradyumna dismissed the allegations and stated that the nurse was merely being kept under observation after a visit to Kerala.
When the news first broke that there was an outbreak in the state of Kerala, it sparked fears that the virus had crossed the border into Karnataka. The state Health Departmentâ€™s 24-hour-hotline â€˜Arogya Sahayavaniâ€™ (104) saw a spike in the number of calls it received from anxious citizens enquiring about the symptoms.
It was later reported that two people from Mangaluru were suspected to have Nipah after having travelled to Kerala. A 20-year-old woman and a 75-year-old man had been admitted in hospitals and their samples were sent for testing, both of which returned negative.
27-year-old Seenu Prasad, a soldier from Kerala, was admitted to the Command Hospital in Alipore in Kolkata after falling sick and died last week. The young man who had been stationed at the armyâ€™s Eastern Command Headquarters in Fort William had gone to his hometown in Kerala for a month. He was admitted to the hospital on May 20 and passed away five days later. The soldierâ€™s samples were sent to NIV and returned negative for Nipah.
Outbreaks of Nipah have been seen in the Northeast, with the first case being reported in 2001 in Siliguri, Bengal. However, this time, no confirmed cases have been reported from the state.
Fears of a Nipah outbreak in the state arose after 18 dead bats were found on the grounds of a government school in the town of Nahan. Samples from the dead bats were sent to Pune for testing, which came back negative for Nipah. Officials from NIV concluded that the bats had died due to another, unknown reason. Additional Chief Secretary of State B K Agarwal advised the public not to panic.