One woman was admitted to the Thrissur Medical College Hospital with suspected symptoms of Nipah virus. The patient hails from Changaramkulam in Malappuram district, where three deaths from Nipah virus were reported earlier this week.
The patient's blood and swab samples have been sent to the virology lab in Manipal, hospital sources told The Hindu.
The woman was transferred to the isolation ward at the MCH in Thrissur after she had approached the Primary Health Centre in her locality a few days ago with fever. Her fever had not subsided.
Over the last two weeks, Kerala has witnessed at least 10 deaths due to Nipah virus. Blood samples of 18 suspected cases were sent to the National Virology Institute in Pune, out of which 12 have returned positive for Nipah virus.
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. Of the 22 people, most are from Kozhikode district, a few from Malappuram and one person is from Wayanad.
It was reported on Wednesday that 3 other nurses from the hospital have fallen ill after attending to Nipah patients and have been referred to Kozhikode Medical College and Hospital. Out of this, one nurse, Lini Puthusshery, 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.
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.
It is suspected that the woman probably could have been exposed to the virus when she had visited the Perambra hospital in Kozhikode district of Kerala where Lini was undergoing treatment for Nipah virus infection. The woman had been in close contact with Lini.
However, the 75-year-old man has no history of travel.
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.