Kerala health crisis: Nipah virus outbreak leads to school closures in Kozhikode
The Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala’s Kozhikode district has resulted in two deaths, with a total of five cases reported so far. In an effort to contain the virus, Kerala Health Minister Veena George announced, “Since yesterday, we have started contact tracing and 706 people are on the contact list.” The state government has also closed all educational institutions in Kozhikode for two days.
Health Officials Struggle to Contain Nipah Virus in Kerala
This is the fourth Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala since 2018. The first victim, according to government officials, was a small landholder who grew bananas and areca nuts in the village of Maruthonkara in Kozhikode. The second victim contracted the virus after hospital contact with the first. They were not related. Both the daughter and brother-in-law of the first victim have been placed in a hospital isolation ward, and tests are being conducted on other family members and neighbors.
Kerala’s Contact Tracing Efforts
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan indicated that more people could be tested for the virus and that isolation facilities would be provided. He also urged residents in Kozhikode to avoid public gatherings for the next 10 days. Among the 706 people listed for contact tracing, 153 are health workers, and 77 are considered at high risk of infection, as stated by Health Minister George.
Restrictions and Precautions in Place
Public movement has been restricted in specific areas to contain the health crisis. “Public movement has been restricted in parts of the state to contain the medical crisis,” George informed reporters. Strict isolation protocols are in place, with medical staff being quarantined after coming into contact with infected individuals. Adjacent to Kerala, the state of Tamil Nadu has also initiated medical tests for travelers coming from Kerala, isolating those who show flu symptoms.