Karnataka steps up vigil, border districts put on high alert over bird flu fear
Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao added that since it is not possible to test all people for the virus only symptomatic patients will be tested to keep track and surveillance measures have been strengthened.
BENGALURU: Karnataka Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao has instructed all government and private hospitals in districts sharing borders with Kerala to allocate separate 10-bed wards in the wake of Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala.
“So far, no cases have been reported in Karnataka. Surveillance has started in all border districts,” he said.
In a video conference meeting with District Rapid Response Team regarding the Nipah virus management on Wednesday, the minister instructed arranging a stock of necessary medicines and to train field staff to identify symptoms for Nipah cases. Community health centres (CHC), public health centres (PHC) and even private hospitals in Dakshina Kannada, Mysuru, Kodagu and Chamarajanagar were instructed to be more vigilant to isolate people found suffering from symptoms of the virus.
The government has noted that people suffering from fever, with a travel history to Kozhikode, or people who were in direct contact with Nipah-positive people, will be considered vulnerable to the infection.
Speaking to the media, the minister said in Kerala, symptomatic people have already been isolated and in Karnataka, district officers have been directed to take throat swabs, urine and blood samples of suspected patients and send it to the National institute of Virology (NIV) in Bengaluru for testing. Advisories have also been issued for people.
He added that since it is not possible to test all people for the virus only symptomatic patients will be tested to keep track and surveillance measures have been strengthened.
Experts have advised people to be watchful for Nipah symptoms like headache, breathing difficulties, cough and sore throat, diarrhoea, vomiting, muscle pain and severe weakness.
People must take preventive sanitary measures like using masks, maintaining hand hygiene, avoid contact with bats and pigs and consume fruits and vegetables only after properly washing them.
Sources in the health department said the situation is being reviewed closely and based on the requirement, a travel advisory will be issued. Officials in the health department said there is no need to panic, but caution must be exercised.