An all party meeting has been convened by the Kerala government in Kozhikode on Friday to discuss the measures taken so far against the outbreak of the Nipah virus. Health Minister KK Shylaja told The Hindu that the meeting will be convened by Labour Minister TP Ramakrishnan, Transport Minister AK Saseendran, and herself, on Friday.
The meeting will also be attended by several MPs and MLAs and other elected representative from opposition parties. She also added that this all party meeting would be followed by another meeting with Panchayat presidents of the neighbouring districts and health experts.
She also shared that the government plans to manufacture Ribavarian tablets, which was reportedly found to be effective in fighting the Nipah fever. Regarding suspicions that fruit bats were the host of the virus, she added that no bat habitats should be destroyed and advised the public to remain alert about the fake messages about the virus being spread online.
Over the past two weeks, Kerala has witnessed 12 deaths due to the Nipah virus outbreak. In accordance with WHO protocol, people who have symptoms of Nipah fever and had been in close touch with others who had contracted the virus have been quarantined.
Last week, three nurses who had attended to Nipah patients fell ill and had been transferred to the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital. One of them, Lini Puthussery, who worked at the EMS Memorial Hospital in Perambra and had attended to the first victim of the outbreak, contracted the virus and passed away on Monday.
On Wednesday, two cases of suspected Nipah virus infection were reported from Mangaluru. One patient is a 20-year-old woman from Kasargod and the other patient is a 75-year-old man from Mangaluru.
Suspicions of an outbreak first arose when three members of a family from Changaroth panchayat in Kozhikode died after suffering from similar symptoms; siblings 26-year-old Mohammed Sadik and 28-year-old Mohammed Salih died on May 5 and May 18 respectively. Their aunt, 50-year-old Mariam died on May 19. Two others, including 62-year-old Valachuketti Moosa, father of Sadik and Salih, are reported to be in critical condition.
Taking into consideration possible infection, blood samples were collected from those who were in close contact with the deceased and sent for further investigation. As a precautionary measure, 60 additional blood samples were collected from those who lived in Moosaâ€™s neighbourhood in Changaroth panchayat.