HYDERABAD: Two people who are suspected to be suffering from Nipah virus infection are admitted at hospitals in Hyderabad. Both the suspected patients are around 25-year-old and one among them has recently been to Kerala on a tour with a group of people. Both the patients are isolated and blood, swab samples are collected from the patients and sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV)-Pune.
Telangana Director of Medical Education Dr K Ramesh Reddy who stressed that there is no need for the public to panic said that as they did not want to take any chance, they sent the samples to test for both Nipah virus and Swine Flu as symptoms for both the infections overlap.
Symptoms of infection caused by Nipah virus include encephalitis accompanied by Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Other symptoms include cough, cold, high-grade fever. The presence of Nipah virus was first confirmed in Kerala on Sunday.
"One among the two suspected cases went to Kerala. I spoke to National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) officials who are in Kerala who said that the place the man has been to is hundreds of kilometers away from localities where Nipah virus cases are reported. So chances for him to test positive are less. The samples will reach NIV-Pune by morning." said Dr Ramesh Reddy.
Usually, in such cases, a person is tasked to take the samples either through road, railway and seldom through airways. Telangana Health department officials have to wait for 24 to 48-hours from Friday morning to know results of Nipah virus tests.
The patient who has been to Kerala is admitted to Fever hospital in Nallakunta. A special ward is created to isolate the patient. In case of the second patient, sources said he was diagnosed with Enephalitis. "But the second patient, who is admitted into NIMS hospital, did not cross Hyderabad limits," sources said.
"We are fully geared up to handle emergencies. Separate wards with six to ten bed capacity are created in Gandhi Hospital, Osmania General Hospital. And if needed, we have the capacity to add 30 to 40 more beds," Dr Ramesh Reddy said. A meeting was held with superintendents of Gandhi Hospital, Osmania General Hospital and others on Thursday evening.
In Kerala, Lini, a nurse, who attended Nipah virus-infected patients, contracted the infection and died.
The DME said that they have taken precautions to protect their staff too. "We have personal protective suits and have placed orders for more. We will take care of our doctors and staff," he said.
It is learnt that Health department officials have checked on the others who travelled with the software engineer to Kerala. "Others do not have any health problem," sources said.