Kozikode, May 22: The government of Goa has been put on alert following 10 deaths over the last two weeks in Kerala due to a rare virus called Nipah, said reports. The latest victim was Lini (31), a nurse who reportedly contracted the virus while tending to a Nipah virus-infected patient. While Lini’s was the sole casualty on Monday, six had died on Sunday alone. Of those, two deaths were reported from Kozhikode and four from Malappuram. The Goa Health Minister has said that all the trains coming from Kerala would be checked and so would road travellers from the state. The state has put all medical colleges and private hospitals on alert. Reports suggest the virus outbreak could hit Goa and even Maharashtra in the next couple of days.
Meanwhile, as a report in The Times of India said, Lini’s family from Chembanoda region allowed the health department to cremate her body at an electric crematorium to avoid the spread of the virus. “In her last days, she realised she had contracted the infection after the youth from Changaroth — whom she had attended to in the initial stages — died. She lived to help others and her death has become a sacrifice,” said her maternal uncle V Balan.
On hearing of her illness, Lini’s husband Sajeesh had come home from the Gulf a few days ago. Rajeev Sadanandan, additional chief secretary, department of health & family welfare, said the virus was confirmed in tests conducted at a Pune institute on samples of the three deceased from a family at Changaroth. The department could not gauge the spread of the disease as the incubation period of the virus was anywhere between four and 18 days, he said.
Meanwhile, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said there was no need to panic. Shailaja said all possible protocols were in place even for the medical professionals and they were also being constantly monitored, reported IANS. “All the periphery hospitals of the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital are fully equipped to tackle the fever. So, all those who have fever need not necessarily rush to the medical college,” Shailaja said, adding that the visiting central team of health experts, led by National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Director Sujith Kumar Singh, was highly appreciative of the work being carried out by the Kerala Health Department.