Nipah virus has claimed one more life in Kerala, with the death of Valachuketti Moosa. Moosa, who was a resident of Perambra and was admitted to a private hospital, passed away on Thursday morning.
He is father to Mohammed Salih and Mohammed Sadik, the siblings who passed away on different days this month, after contracting the rare Nipah virus. Moosa was admitted with symptoms on May 17. The bats which are supposed to be carriers of the Nipah virus were found in the well inside Moosaâ€™s house plot.
With this, the number of confirmed deaths due to Nipah infection now stands at 11, (8 in Kozhikode, 3 in Malappuram), while one more is suspected to have died of Nipah virus.
So far, 14 cases have turned positive for Nipah virus, out of which 11 deaths are confirmed, while three are undergoing treatment.
According to Dr Arun Kumar from Manipal Centre for Virology Research (MCVR), it was difficult to diagnose the virus in the early stages of the first case because the patient died before the test could be conducted. Moreover, when the first case arose, the doctors had no reason to believe that the infection could have been due to Nipah virus. The test requires a sample of body fluids (such as throat swab, blood and urine) which could not be collected before his death.
As of now, of the 22 blood samples that have been tested in MCVR for the presence of the virus, 13 have been found to be positive, as stated by Jayashri, District Medical Officer in Kozhikode.
In view of the general publicâ€™s health, the Kozhikode District Collector UV Jose has directed to put a stay on all government related public programmes, meetings, inaugurations, awareness drives across the entire district. The Collector has also ordered tuition and training centres in the district to stop functioning till May 31. The PG Entrance exams to the Calicut University, scheduled for May 25 and 26 have been postponed to June 9 and 10.
The District Medical Officer Jayashri said that these steps have been taken to prevent further spread of the infection. â€śTentatively, public meetings are to be avoided till May 31, more can be said only after knowing the progression of the infectionâ€ť, she said.
In another development, following refusal to cremate the body of Ashokan who passed away on Wednesday due to the infection, Dr. RS Gopakumar, the Kozhikode Corporation Health Officer, has filed a complaint against two workers of Mavoor Road Crematorium.
The Nadakkavu police station have registered a case against Shaji and Babu, under Section 353 of Indian Penal code, for assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duties and Section 279 IPC, for showing indignity towards corpse.
While cremation is favoured as the best method to stop the further spread of infection, in case families opt for burial, the body will have to be covered in a polythene bag and then put into a very deep pit.
The Kozhikode Medical College has 136 patients while nearby Malappuram district has 24 who are under observation.
A large number of medical professionals and health experts deputed by the Centre, the state government and the private sector are working in Kozhikode and Malappuram by meeting those who are under observation besides carrying out awareness programmes, an official said.
(With IANS inputs)