Common symptoms of fever, Nipah baffle doctors in Kerala

The doctors have also highlighted the differences in the cause of death in the two suspected Nipah deaths when compared to the previous instances of Nipah spread in the state.

Published: 13th September 2023 07:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th September 2023 07:22 AM   |  A+A-


Buses in Kuttiadi region have started to witness low number of passengers following Nipah outbreak. Travellers are seen wearing facemasks

Express News Service

KOZHIKODE:  As the state health department has effectively kick-started measures on a war footing to track the spread of Nipah virus in Kozhikode district, the increasing number of fever cases with symptoms similar to the deadly disease is turning out to be a huge challenge to the health department and the hospitals handling these cases. Fever cases have been on the rise in the state for the past few months.

In both Nipah deaths in Kozhikode, the symptoms included high temperature, throat infection, body pain, headache and difficulty in breathing. According to medical experts, the same symptoms are being reported in 95 per cent of fever cases reported in the state for the past two months.

“The similarities in symptoms will pose a big challenge to the health department which is tracking the Nipah cases in the district. It is not known whether the virus has already spread among the people directly or indirectly associated with the infected persons,” said Dr Anoop Kumar A S, the doctor who was part of the team involved in the early detection of Nipah virus during its spread in 2018. 

“In the first death reported in Kozhikode, the 47-year-old person was taken to a clinic in Kuttiadi with a high temperature, followed by a throat infection, headache and body pain. Later as the patient’s temperature shot up, he was taken to a private hospital in Kuttiadi. On August 29, he was admitted to a private hospital in Kozhikode after he developed breathing difficulties. His oxygen level also started to drop. All these symptoms are now present in any fever cases that are reported in the hospitals,” he said.

Dr Anoop said, “It will be difficult for the health department to consider all fever cases as suspected Nipah cases. At the same time, asking the patient to undergo a Nipah test just because the symptoms are similar to that of Nipah will be a difficult and challenging one for both the patients and the health department. For the public, it is best to make sure that they do not spread their infection to others. For this, they have to stay cautious and calm.”

According to experts, the trend of rising fever cases will continue at least for a few more weeks. Fatigue and decreasing blood count are common among viral fever patients this time in addition to other symptoms.

The doctors have also highlighted the differences in the cause of death in the two suspected Nipah deaths when compared to the previous instances of Nipah spread in the state.

Earlier the cause of death was due to encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, but now the cause of death is pneumonia. In the patients who have been admitted to the hospital after coming into contact with the latest victims of Nipah, it has been found that all four people are having breathing issues.

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