KOZHIKODE: Wednesday was the first day when no death was reported in the district after the presence of Nipah virus was confirmed on Sunday. However, one more patient from Malappuram was confirmed of being infected with the Nipah virus here on Wednesday. The person is undergoing treatment at Kozhikode Medical College. With this, the number of people infected with Nipha virus has risen to 13 of which 10 have died. According to health officers, eight more persons are under observation in Medical College here.
Director of Health Services Dr R L Sarita said the blood and body fluid samples from all suspected patients have been sent to Manipal Institute of Virus Research.
So far, the department has sent 160 samples to Manipal. Results of 22 samples have come.
Meanwhile, the district health department has already prepared a treatment protocol for the disease which will be finalised after discussing with experts teams from NCDC and AIMMS. The team from Delhi is also studying the cases to trace the root of the disease.
Additional Director of Health Services (ADHS) K J Reena said the department has already directed the District Medical Officers to declare an alert and set up an isolation wards in each district. “Health officials in every district are prepared to face any emergency situation,” she added.
State National Health Mission Director Keshvendra Kumar, who reviewed the situation in the district, said ‘ribavirin’ – a medicine that has shown to be effective against Nipah virus – has been procured by Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd. “About 2,000 tablets have already been brought to Kozhikode Medical College. We will procure about 8,000 more tablets on Wednesday,” he said.
Yet to decided on using ribavirin
Though the state has procured ‘ribavirin’ to treat the infected patients, it is yet to take a final call on whether to proceed with the same. Reena said though the tablet is used as an anti-viral, it is known to have an adverse effect on some patients. “A patient is supposed to consume about 280 tablets during a course which could have serious adverse effects on the person’s other vital organs such as the kidney. Hence, we are yet to take a call on it. We will only start the treatment after thorough study on this,” she said.
Three survivors stable
Dr Sarita told reporters that the condition of the three patients who are infected with Nipah virus is stable. Two patients are undergoing treatment in private hospitals and one at Kozhikode Medical College.
“We are receiving reports that all the patients are stable. Though the condition of patients in private hospitals was known to be critical till yesterday, it is now reported that they are also stable,” she said.