Kerala govt issues alert ahead of Nipah transmission season

The circular warns people to thoroughly wash vegetables and fruits before consumption and wear masks or carry towel if suffering from cough.

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The Kerala government has issued an alert to all District Medical Officers (DMO) to follow strict infection control procedures for Nipah, which had claimed 17 lives in the state during its outbreak in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in May, this year.

“We have given an alert to DMOs asking all government hospitals to observe infection control practices strictly,” Dr V Meenakshi, Additional Director (Public Health).

The nipah alert circular, issued by the Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Rajeev Sadanandan, also wanted all major government hospitals to have “cough corners.”

“Masks should be provided to those suffering from severe respiratory infection and a person should be appointed to provide information about the masks and the need to wear them,” she said.

According to the state government figures, the Nipah virus had claimed 17 lives, 14 in Kozhikode and three in neighboring Malappuram since its outbreak in May.

Sadanand also directed medical colleges, district and taluk hospitals to take extra precautions while treating patients suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome. “Persons suffering from cough are to be directed to a ‘cough corner’ in the hospital where they will be supplied with masks,” Sadanand said.

In July, the Kerala government had declared Kozhikode and Malappuram free of the Nipah virus. Nipah is a virus that can be transferred from animals to humans. It causes fever and cold-like symptoms in patients before quickly advancing to encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain, and myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart. There is no vaccine or cure for Nipah infections at present.

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