Updated May 8th, 2024 at 11:48 IST

Kerala on Alert as 3 Districts Report West Nile Fever Cases, Authorities Asked to Remain Vigilant

West Nile fever is spread by the Culex species of mosquitoes and was first detected in 1937 in Uganda.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Five cases of the vector-borne disease were reported in the north Kerala district of Kozhikode | Image: AP/File

New Delhi: The Kerala government has asked the health department to remain vigilant as West Nile fever cases have been reported from Thrissur, Malappuram and Kozhikode districts of the state. The Government said that there was no need to be concerned, but requested anyone showing signs of fever or other symptoms of the West Nile infection to seek treatment immediately.

Cases of the viral infection - West Nile Fever - have been reported in the state and that all the districts have been asked to be vigilant, said State Health Minister Veena George, in a statement, reported PTI. As part of the preventive measures against the viral fever, spread by the Culex species of mosquitoes, the Minister has ordered that steps be taken for mosquito control by destroying their breeding grounds, the statement said.


Kozhikode district health officials confirmed reports of five cases of West Nile fever there, while no details regarding the number of cases in Thrissur and Malappuram districts were provided by the authorities. The official said the samples of those who exhibited symptoms of the disease and had undergone treatment were sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune as a routine exercise.

What is West Nile Fever

The West Nile fever is spread by the Culex species of mosquitoes. It was first detected in 1937 in Uganda.The West Nile virus can cause a fatal neurological disease in humans but most of those infected may not show any symptoms.

The fever was first detected in Kerala in 2011 and a six-year-old boy from Malappuram died due to the fever in 2019. Thereafter, in May 2022, a 47-year-old man died of the fever in Thrissur district.


Symptoms of West Nile Fever 

The main symptoms of West Nile infection are headache, fever, muscle aches, dizziness and loss of memory, but most patients do not experience these. 


Some people experience symptoms like fever, headache, vomiting and itching and in one per cent of the cases, it can lead to brain damage resulting in unconsciousness and sometimes death, the minister said in her statement. But the death rate is relatively low compared to Japanese encephalitis which shows similar symptoms and is more dangerous.

Government Issues Directive 

The Kerala government has instructed to begin pre-monsoon cleaning activities and the District Medical Officers (DMOs) have been directed to further intensify the same. Similar instructions were given in a high-level meeting held last week. 

Kerala Relies on Preventive Measures 

The Kerala government has emphasised that there is no medicine or vaccine available for the ailment, asking the resident to rely on preventive measures. Symptomatic treatment and prevention is the key, the minister said in her statement. 

As part of the preventive measures, she suggested wearing clothing that completely covers the body, use of mosquito nets and repellants and keeping one's home and surroundings clean.



(With Inputs From Agencies) 




Published May 8th, 2024 at 08:38 IST