Kozhikode: Kerala Health Minister Veena George has provided an update on the state’s ongoing efforts to control the Nipah virus outbreak, assuring the public that the situation is currently under control. As of the latest update, Minister Veena George confirmed that there have been no new Nipah cases reported. She noted that there are 352 individuals on the high-risk contact list, with health workers intensifying prevention activities in areas where the Nipah virus has been confirmed.
The minister shared some positive news regarding the health condition of a nine-year-old boy who had been under treatment. He is now off the ventilator and receiving oxygen support, showing signs of improvement. Presently, 1233 individuals are on the contact list, with 23 people admitted to the medical college and four to the Institute of Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
In an effort to understand the source of the virus, samples from 36 bats were collected and sent for testing. As part of precautionary measures, health authorities have conducted house visits at 34,167 residences to assess the situation and ensure public safety.
However, concerns have arisen over the health department’s handling of contact tracing and public notices. Following the confirmation that Harris, a resident of Mangladu, had succumbed to Nipah on September 11, the health department released public notices the following day, detailing the locations he had visited, including the Vadakara government district hospital.
Harris had visited the district hospital on September 10, spending there around 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., but the health notice advising those present at the hospital during his visit to contact the health department and self-quarantine was not issued until five days after his death.
During his hospital visit, Harris spent time in both the emergency department and the observation room. Although several individuals were present at the same time, the hospital lacked the contact information of those patients. As a result, the health department had to rely on CCTV footage to identify these patients, a task that proved to be quite challenging.
Complicating matters further, the health department initially misidentified the mosque Harris had visited, leading to unnecessary panic. The revised notice correctly identified the Edodi Juma Masjid as the location he had visited.