Two Samples Negative for Nipah after Testing Positive, Sigh of Relief for KeralaTop Stories

June 07, 2018 15:24
Two Samples Negative for Nipah after Testing Positive, Sigh of Relief for Kerala

(Image source from: Tamil News-Samayam)

After Nipah virus, a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans claimed 16 lives in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts of Kerala have now tested negative for two samples which initially tested positive.

The blood samples of 244 suspected cases have as well tested negative bringing a sense of relief to the people in state.

"Of the 18 confirmed cases, 16 people died and two have survived. They have tested negative after days of critical care. But they will be under observation for at least 21 days," Kozhikode Additional District Medical Officer Asha Devi said.

Among two who have tested negative for Nipah is a 19-year-old medical students who was interning at medical college in the beginning of May when the first patient was brought in.

Health Minister KK Shailaja has acknowledged the role of doctors, their swift action and tireless efforts in "containing the outbreak".

"It's because of so many health officials, doctors, nurses and support staff, who tirelessly worked day and night, that we have been able to contain the outbreak so swiftly. This is unprecedented when compared to the outbreaks seen across the world. Be it private hospitals or government, or the state and central governments -- all worked as a team," Ms Shailaja said.

Kerala health officials went beyond their call of duty to help affected kins, as Kerala witnessed a Nipah outbreak was witnessed by the state for the first time.

A health official with Kozhikode Corporation Dr RS Gopakumar oversaw eight funerals of confirmed Nipah virus patients and four negative cases. He as well conducted last rites of three patients, who later tested negative for Nipah.

"It was painful to see that the families of the patients weren't around their loved ones for their last rites. As a doctor, it was my duty to ensure that they had dignity in death. One of the deaths involved a negative case of a 51-year-old receptionist at Balussery hospital. His family didn't want to come for the funeral, so two of my colleagues and I did their last rites," Dr Gopakumar, 41, said.

Dr Anoop Kumar and his team from Baby Memorial Hospital has been appreciated for handling Nipah virus and for playing a crucial role in its early diagnosis, sample testing and alerting the government.

"We got the first patient on May 17 and he was in critical care for encephalitis. But he wasn't responding well to the treatment. He mentioned that his brother had died a few days ago. He also said that three of his family members had fever. We urgently called them to the hospital. Their condition worsened by evening. We sent their samples for testing. The next morning, our team of doctors suspected it to be Nipah based on the literature available and their symptoms. However, the man died that afternoon. Later, the lab reports confirmed Nipah," said 40-year-old Dr AS Anoop Kumar.

By Sowmya Sangam

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Nipah virus  Kerala