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Early detection, effective treatment helped in bringing down Nipah mortality rate to 33 per cent: Kerala Health Minister

The virus strain seen in Kerala was the Bangladesh variant, which generally has a high mortality rate, said Veena George

Published Date – 07:30 PM, Sat – 30 September 23


Early detection, effective treatment helped in bringing down Nipah mortality rate to 33 per cent: Kerala Health Minister

Kerala Health Minister Veena George

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Health Minister Veena George has said that the effective and timely intervention of the state health system brought down the Nipah fatality rate to 33 per cent in its fourth outbreak.

She made the statement in the wake of all four Nipah-infected persons recovering from the zoonotic illness.

The government on Friday announced that a nine-year-old boy, who was among those under treatment for Nipah in Kozhikode, had recovered.

The virus strain seen in Kerala was the Bangladesh variant, which generally has a high mortality rate, George said in a Facebook post on Friday night.

This variant can cause death among 70-90 per cent of the infected people. “However, we have lost the lives of two out of the total six affected persons in Kozhikode, which means we have a relatively low death rate of 33.3 per cent,” the minister said.

The relatively early identification of patients and treatment using antiviral drugs may be the reasons for the low mortality rate, she said.

Another significance of the virus outbreak this time was that there was no transmission of the disease from anyone other than the first patient, George explained.

The effective interventions of the health department helped in preventing even a single patient from becoming infected after September 11, she further said.

Research activities would be further strengthened to completely avoid loss of human life due to Nipah infection in future, the minister added.

George said she spoke to all the four persons, who had recovered from the infection, via video call.

All of them were returning home after fighting a deadly infection successfully and completely recovering from the disease, she said.

Among them, a nine-year-old boy was on a ventilator for several days and it was a great relief that such a patient has come back to life, she added.

The minister, in the FB post, also appreciated doctors, health workers and all others who worked round the clock in Nipah prevention and treatment.

A total of six people were infected with the virus in Kozhikode, and of them two died.

The first person who died on August 30 was found to be the index case, or patient zero, from whom others caught the infection.

On Friday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also lauded the efforts of the health workers, the ministerial team including George and other local associations for working together to fight the outbreak.

The Kerala government recently withdrew containment in all zones and allied restrictions were imposed in the northern district, as no new cases of Nipah virus have been reported here since September 16.

However, the district authorities advised people to continue vigil against the viral infection, maintain social distancing and ensure the use of masks and sanitizer.

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