The two people have been admitted to Calicut Medical College, and their reports have been sent for further confirmation.

Two people suspected to have contracted West Nile Virus in KozhikodeImage for representation
news West Nile Virus Friday, August 03, 2018 - 18:36

Months after the Kerala state government issued an all-clear for the Nipah virus, reports have emerged alleging that two people have been admitted to the Calicut Medical College in Kozhikode district, with what is suspected to be West Nile Fever.

“One person was admitted and his first sample has been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune, which came back positive. But we have to send the second sample after two weeks to confirm that it is indeed West Nile fever,” said Dr Jayashree District Medical Officer (DMO) from Kozhikode to TNM.

She further explained that only if the second sample showed at least a four-time increase in the viral load as compared to the first sample would it confirm that the patient indeed suffers from West Nile fever. Viral load refers to the quantity of the virus present in the patient's samples.

While the first sample of one patient has returned positive, they are still waiting for the samples of the second suspected patient.

“West Nile fever is caused by the West Nile virus. It is spread through mosquitoes. Mosquitoes pick up the virus from infected birds, and when they go on to bite humans or animals, the infection spreads,” Dr Jayashree explained.

In an effort to figure out how many people in the district have been affected by the virus, the state health department has sent people door-to-door to screen individuals and determine whether there may be more undetected cases.

“The screening has been done from house to house and so far, no one else has been reported to show any symptoms which may be suggestive of West Nile fever. We just have to keep an eye out on the two people in the hospital at present,” she said.

West Nile virus is transmitted through mosquitoes. While most people do not develop any active symptoms, a few show signs similar to that of typical viral fevers. Persons may experience a headache, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes a rash may be seen. However, many people don't exhibit any significant symptoms.

The fever is not spread through person-to-person contact. Treatment is mostly through supportive measures.

This news comes months after the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala, which claimed 17 lives in the state.