Kozhikode: Another patient who was under observation at the Government Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode for symptoms resembling Nipah infection died on Saturday, though her reports have come negative twice and hence could not be considered a Nipah death.
Health Minister KK Shailaja told reporters after a Nipah review meeting in Kozhikode on Saturday that the patient, Roja from Thalasseri in Kannur district, was undergoing treatment at the Pariyaram Medical College.
She was brought to Kozhikode Medical College only recently as she showed Nipah-like symptoms and was put under observation. Her blood samples were tested twice for Nipah virus but came out negative. Her family members, who had fever earlier, have also been cured now, the Minister said.
In a move that could bring a ray of hope to people infected with Nipah virus disease in Kerala, the Centre has granted regulatory waivers for emergency import of an anti-NiV drug developed by an Australian researcher.
A 50-dose consignment of Monoclonal 102.4 antibodies developed by Dr Christopher C Broder of Australia reached India today and will be dispatched to Kozhikode Government Medical College for further administration to NiV patients. These antibodies have reported a 90% success rate among NiV patients in Bangladesh.
Additional Chief Secretary in charge of Health and Family Welfare Rajeev Sadanandan said that medicines for Nipah infection have been brought from Australia and the same would reach Kozhikode by evening. The medicines were brought as per a contract between the Government of Australia and Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).
The medicines will be unpacked only in the presence of ICMR representatives who are expected to be in Kozhikode by Monday. However, the medicines will be used only in case of any fresh cases of infection as there are no NiV+ cases in Kozhikode at present.
Sadanandan said that there was no need to panic as all the infections that turned out positive so far happened only in a hospital environment and also before 17 May, when the second Nipah death took place.
Out of the 18 who had tested positive, 16 have died and two under treatment has started showing improvement in their condition and have subsequently tested negative.
District Collector UV Jose said that the schools and professional colleges in Kozhikode will reopen only on 12 June as part of a preventive measure against Nipah infection. The restriction on public gatherings that was imposed till 4 June has been extended to 12 June.
The health authorities had drawn up a list of 1,949 people who had come in contact with the Nipah-affected persons to monitor their health condition. The woman also figured on the list and had tested negative for Nipah virus earlier as well.
Shailaja chaired a high-level meeting here this morning, which was attended by top health officials.
Two patients, who tested positive for the virus, are undergoing treatment at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital and their condition is stable.
The State government has postponed all meetings scheduled to be held in the two districts this month till further notice.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) has postponed all its written and online exams scheduled to be held until 16 June. New dates will be announced later.
As a precautionary measure, several staffers, including nurses and four doctors, of the Balussery taluk hospital were asked yesterday to go on leave after the death of two people being treated for Nipah virus.
Following the death of a superintendent of Kozhikode district court complex due to Nipah, the district bar association asked the collector to stop the functioning of the district court for the time being.
The Nipah Virus scare reached the Kozhikode railway station with passengers cancelling their rail tickets as a precautionary measure. To avoid the spread of the disease, most people have cancelled their rail tickets, said an official.