Kerala would begin a comprehensive preventive drive against the outbreak of Nipah virus next month to equip the state health machinery to fight the deadly virus, Health Minister K K Shylaja said on Monday.
A year after two north Kerala districts were hit by the deadly Nipah that claimed 17 lives, the virus had re-surfaced in the southern state in June this year with a 23-year-old student here being infected. The Ernakulam-based youth was discharged from the hospital after 53 days of treatment and surveillance.
Detailing the initiatives under the preventive drive, Shylaja informed the state assembly that surveillance would be intensified and mock-drills would be held."This year's Nipah preventive drive will begin next month.
Mock drills will be held in major hospitals, including those in the private sector. We contained the spread of virus in a remarkable manner last time through such coordinated efforts," the minister said during question hour.
Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are the natural host of the Nipah virus. Nipah virus can be transmitted to humans from animals (such as bats or pigs), or contaminated food and can also be transmitted directly from human-to-human. According to the WHO, Nipah virus is a newly emerging disease that can be transmitted from its reservoir (natural wildlife host), the flying foxes (fruit bats), to both animals and humans.