The district authorities in Kerala’s Kozhikode on Friday lifted the containment zone restrictions from all the wards of the nine panchayats in Vadakara Taluk and relaxed other curbs in the remaining zones after no new Nipah cases were reported in the state since September 16.
Earlier in the day, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said that no new positive case was reported. As many as 66 people, who completed isolation, were excluded from the contact list, she said.
In a statement post an evaluation meeting, George also said that at present, 915 people were there on the contact list and 365 samples had been sent for examination so far.
As per an India Today report, the relaxations were announced in all wards of the Feroke Municipality and in seven wards of Kozhikode Corporation, which come under the containment zone. The District Collector’s order said that all shops within the containment zones can operate till 8 pm and all banks are allowed to function till 2 pm.
Earlier the Kozhikode administration declared seven village panchayats as containment zones, considering the serious nature of the disease.Kozhikode District Collector A Geetha had declared Atanchery, Maruthonkara, Tiruvallur, Kuttiyadi, Kayakkodi, Villyapalli, and Kavilumpara panchayats as containment zones. Travelling in or out of these containment zones waas not allowed till further notice and the police was also asked to cordon off these areas.
Only stores selling essential commodities and medical supplies were allowed to function from 7 am to 5 pm. The collector has also restricted the operation of banks, other government or quasi-government institutions, educational institutions and anganwadis.
The total number of cases of Nipah infection confirmed in the state are six, of which two persons have died and four people are under treatment.
The World Health Organisation and ICMR studies have found that Kerala and not just Kozhikode, is prone to such infections.
WHAT IS NIPAH VIRUS?
Nipah virus (NiV) is a zoonotic virus, meaning it can spread between animals and people. Fruit bats, also called flying foxes, are the animal reservoir for NiV in nature.
Nipah virus is also known to cause illness in pigs and people. Infection with NiV is associated with encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and can cause mild to severe illness and even death.
The name ‘Nipah’ is named after a Malaysian village, where the first outbreak was reported in 1998-1999.
HOW NIPAH VIRUS SPREADS
The virus can spread through infected fruit bats to people and other animals, such as pigs. People can become infected if they have close contact with an infected animal or its body fluids, such as saliva or urine. Once it spreads to people, the disease can spread from person-to-person.
The treatment of Nipah virus infection is mostly limited to supportive care and management of acute encephalitis syndrome. According to the WHO, there are no drugs or vaccines specific for Nipah available.
(with PTI inputs)