Nipah Virus
Among the seven cases, swab samples of five have already been sent for examination and results are expected on Thursday.

The number of suspected Nipah cases in Kerala increased to seven on Wednesday, state Health Minister KK Shailaja said.

As of Tuesday, the number of suspected cases was five. Samples for these five persons have already been sent for examination. Only one is a confirmed Nipah patient and he is stable, Shailaja said during a press briefing after the core committee meeting on Wednesday.

For the other four persons, Shailaja said that analysis of their samples is currently underway. "The sample was sent for examination to virology institutes in Pune, Manipal and Alappuzha. The reports from the two institutes suggest that there is nothing to be worried. But we are awaiting a report from Pune, which will be available tomorrow. Until then, we won't be able to say that it's negative," the minister said.

An ongoing process

When asked about the long-term precautions to deal with the virus, the minister noted that they are already in place.

"Since the breeding period of fruit bats is from December to June-July, the examination of suspected cases began in December itself. Samples of people who had shown symptoms were sent for examination; fortunately they were negative,” she said.

“Protocol for treatment of infections is already in place since it was necessary to counter all types of infectious diseases. Training has also been given on the same. The department will rectify if they are any lapses," she added.      

The department has also taken measures to spread awareness on the virus to prevent contraction.

314 people on the contact list

According to the minister, 314 people are currently on the contact list, which is the number of persons who have been in direct or indirect contact with the confirmed Nipah patient.

As of Wednesday at 5 pm, 149 people had been contacted, and the remaining 165 are pending. “We know their address and phone numbers. Among the 149 contacted, we got full data of 35 people whereas partial details for the remaining 94. It will be completely collected by Thursday. Among the 35 people whose full details have been received, three of them are in the 'high risk' category," said Principal Secretary Health Dr Rajan N Khobragade.

For Nipah-related queries, please call the new control room number: 04842425200.