A year after nipah virus claimed a life in Kozhikode, Kochi is now under the scare, following suspicion that a youth admitted to a private hospital may be afflicted.
Health Minister KK Shylaja told mediapersons that initially there is suspicion that it could be a case of nipah. However, the government was awaiting the report of the blood sample test from National Institute of Virology, Pune, which was expected by afternoon. Only after this could be there be confirmation about the status, she said. There was no reason for panic as all precautionary measures had been taken even if the results proved negative, she added. She is rushing to Kochi after a meeting with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan this morning.
According to hospital sources, the youth from the district was studying in Thodupuzha and went to Thrissur as part of internship where he developed fever and was treated in two hospitals there. He reached Thrissur on May 21 and left after two days and was admitted to a hospital in Kochi.
The health department has convened an emergency meeting in Kochi under the Health Secretary. A team of five doctors, who handled the nipah case in Kozhikode last year, has rushed to Kochi.
The government has taken all precautionary measures. The youth is in a special isolated ward. Those who had been in close contact with him in Thrissur are under watch, according to the DMO there. A similar step is being taken in Thodupuzha under the leadership of Idukki DMO.
Medical sources said the fever had affected his brain. In the case of nipah, there is cause for concern only if it affects the lungs as in the Kozhikode case. The youth has been moved to an isolated ward after the medical team suspected symptoms of nipah, following initial tests.
All precautionary measures had been taken and the youth was undergoing treatment. Ernakulam District Medical Officer Dr MK Kuttappan said blood samples had been collected and test result from the Pune institute were expected today to confirm whether it was a case of nipah or bacterial encephalitis.
Medical sources said there was unnecessary scare being spread through social media when there was no confirmation of nipah.