THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government does not expect a second outbreak of the Nipah virus infection, but precautionary measures will remain in place till June-end, Health Minister K K Shylaja informed the Assembly on Tuesday. At a discussion on the Nipah virus outbreak which claimed 17 lives, she said the Health Department has adequate stocks of the monoclonal antibody (hmAb) flown in from Queensland, Australia. The antibody, developed by Christopher C Broder and procured through the intervention of the Central Government, is preserved at minus 80-degree Celsius.
Deputy Opposition leader M K Muneer had moved an adjournment motion in the morning demanding the Speaker to curtail the day’s business and discuss the issue. The government had agreed and the discussion began at 12.30 pm. A majority of the MLAs who spoke wanted the government to urgently identify the source of the outbreak. The legislators lauded the doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers who toiled night and day to save the infected patients.
The House paid tributes to Lini, the nurse who fell victim to the virus and placed on record the contribution of doctors A S Anoop Kumar and C Jayakrishnan of the Baby Memorial Hospital who were the first to suspect the Nipah virus behind the outbreak. “Dr Anoop told me that he had been reading up on literature on the Nipah a few days before the outbreak. That had made him suspect the virus,” Shylaja said.
The MLAs flayed the wrong information on Nipah that flooded the social media platforms.
She said cases were registered against 12 persons in this regard. The advisory was printed with the letterhead of the Kozhikode DMO but was obviously fake. “The seal said ‘Bengal magistrate’,” he said.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala called for strong measures to prevent similar outbreaks in the future. Chennithala, V S Sivakumar and K M Mani urged the government to pinpoint the source of the outbreak. “We have not been able to trace the source. We should collaborate with the Centre and WHO to do it ,” Sivakumar said.
Parakkal Abdulla of the IUML, who created a furore on Monday wearing a mask and gloves in the Assembly, demanded a special package for the Nipah virus-affected areas. E K Vijayan of the CPI and C K Nanu of Janata Dal wanted the government to explore treatment methods in Indian systems of medicine including ayurveda.