Kozhikode/Kolkata: 17 deaths have been reported so far due to the deadly Nipah virus which has created a scare in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts of Kerala. While railways station wears a deserted look, business has taken a severe hit.
Several staffers, including nurses and four doctors, of a hospital in nearby Balussery, have been asked to go on leave from today as a precautionary measure after the death of two people being treated for Nipah virus, the officials said.
Two people, who succumbed to the virus in the past two days, had undergone treatment at the Taluk hospital before being shifted to the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.
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.
As a precautionary measure due to the Nipah virus, schools in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts did not re-open today after summer vacation and would commence their new academic session from 5 June.
The Nipah Virus (NiV) 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.
A senior health official said the health staff, including four doctors and nurses, of Balussery hospital who were in contact with the patients, were asked to go on leave for a week as a precautionary measure. Alternative arrangements have been made for the functioning of the hospital, the official said.
Resin, 25, who died yesterday, was initially treated at the Balussery hospital when another Nipah affected patient, Nikhil was undergoing treatment.
The official also said there have been enquiries from various institutions, including the local employment exchange, seeking permission to shut office for the time being.
Meanwhile, the death of a 27-year-old Army soldier hailing from Kerala has set off fears that he may have been infected with Nipah. Seenu Prasad was admitted to Kolkata’s Command Hospital on 20 April 20 and he passed away on 25 May.
“His body fluids have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune, ” said Wing Commander S.S. Birdi, Chief Public Relations Officer in Kolkata for the Ministry of Defence.
According to authorities, the soldier had gone on a month’s leave to Kerala and joined duty on 13 May. He was posted at Fort William, the headquarters of the Army’s Eastern Command.
Meanwhile, three patients have been moved to the isolation ward of the Infectious Diseases Hospital at Beleghata in Kolkata after they showed symptoms of viral contamination. Two of them are from Domkal in Murshidabad district and the third is from Ghatal in Paschim Medinipur. They had visited Kerala in the past few weeks.
Kozhikode District Collector UV Jose would file a report to the Kerala High Court on the situation in the district in the wake of Nipah virus, a source said. The report was being finalised, the source said.
The Nipah scare is taking a toll on the toddy business in the district. Since the viral infection outbreak was reported at Perambra on 19 May, healthcare experts have been asking the public to avoid drinking toddy. The reason cited is that the Indian fruit bat might contaminate the palm sap with Nipah virus.
Meanwhile, as part of ‘Nipah alert’, State health authorities asked those who visited Kozhikode Medical College casualty, CT scan room and waiting room on 14 May to contact the State Nipah cell immediately.
Those who visited the Balussery Taluk Hospital in the district on 18 May have also been asked to get in touch with Nipah cell, health authorities said.
Besides, officials have asked those people who made contact with the two, who died due to Nipah, to get in touch with the cell.
So far, a total of 196 samples have been tested for Nipah, of which 18 have tested positive. Seventeen people have died due to the virus.