Kerala Additional Health Secretary Rajeev Sadanand confirmed to TNM that 22 people have been quarantined after doctors suspected they might be inflicted with the Nipah virus.
Earlier in the week, samples from suspected cases were sent to the National Virology Institute in Pune; out of the 18 samples sent, 12 have returned positive for Nipah virus.
According to 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. Of the 22 people, most are from Kozhikode district, a few from Malappuram and one person is from Wayanad.
Ten people have died due to the Nipah virus infection, including nurse Lini Puthusshery who had been working at the EMS Memorial Cooperative Hospital at Perambra and tended to the first victim of the virus in Kerala. Lini died on Monday after having developed symptoms of Nipah a few days earlier. It was reported yesterday that another 3 nurses from the hospital have fallen ill after attending to Nipah patients and have been referred to Kozhikode Medical College and Hospital. No confirmation has been received as to whether they have contracted the disease or not.
Two other deaths reported this morning have been confirmed as being due to Nipah virus as well: 47-year-old Madampally Meethal Rajan from Koorachundu Vattachira, who was undergoing treatment at Kozhikode Medical College, and 52-year-old Ashokan from Nadapuram Ummathoor who was being treated at the Baby Memorial Hospital. Their samples were tested by the National Virology Institute and were confirmed as being positive for Nipah virus.
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.
The death toll due to confirmed cases of Nipah virus infection in Kozhikode is 8 at present. Other reports have emerged from Malappuram district where 2 deaths have been confirmed due to Nipah.