Thiruvananthapuram | The Kerala government on Wednesday said that the ICMR has informed them about the presence of the Nipah virus in bats in the Wayanad district of the state, but there was no need to panic.
State Health Minister Veena George said that the Indian Council of Medical Research gave this information based on its studies of the bat samples collected by it.
"ICMR has said that it has found the presence of the virus in bats in Wayanad. It is a continuation of the ecosystem there," she said.
The Nipah virus outbreak this year was in Kozhikode district, which neighbours Wayanad, and six persons were infected, of whom two had died.
George said there was no need for the public to be afraid or panic as the information was being conveyed only to create awareness and to make people cautious and vigilant.
She said that healthcare activities in connection with the virus were being coordinated and training was being provided to healthcare and medical professionals on how to deal with suspected cases of Nipah infection.
She said the Nipah virus infection was possible anywhere across India, but since it was detected in bats in Wayanad they informed us and we are strengthening the preventive measures.
"But there is no need to panic. It is only meant to create awareness," she added.
George was speaking to reporters about the current status of the Nipah outbreak in the state which had infected six people in Kozhikode district last month and of whom two had died.
The minister said that all those people who were on the contact list of those infected had completed their isolation and quarantine periods.
She also said that it was a matter of pride that the state was able to restrict Nipah's mortality rate, which is around 70-90 per cent, to 33 per cent.
The minister also referred to the various measures, like issuance of Kozhikode-specific standard operating protocols (SOPs), taken by the government to combat the virus.
Additionally, a Kerala One Health Centre for Nipah Research has also been created, she said.
Presently, there will be a consolidation of the field activities of all departments with regard to public health and it will be a part of the Kozhikode Medical College, the minister said.
However, moving forward, the intention is to develop it as an independent research institute with its own infrastructure, she said.
Of the two deaths due to Nipah, the first person who died on August 30 was found to be the index case, or patient zero, from whom others caught the infection.
The outbreak of the virus this year was the fourth in the state since 2018.