Pune-based National Institute of Virology has sent a mobile BSL-3 testing lab to Kozhikode in Kerala for early detection of Nipah virus infection. A team of experts from the Department of Animal Husbandry has also been deployed to assist the state in the surveillance of animals.
"The ICMR's mBSL-3, which is the first biosafety level-3 containment mobile laboratory of South Asia, has been stationed at Kozhikode. It will help in early testing and detection of the infection at the district itself," an official source told PTI.
The state has reported five cases of Nipah, including two persons who died at a private hospital in the city recently. Of the three infected persons under treatment, the condition of a nine-year-old boy continues to remain critical.
State Health Minister Veena George said there was no need to be apprehensive about the Nipah outbreak, but caution needs to be exercised by people as they go about their daily activities.
"There is no need for any apprehension. We can all together deal with the issue with caution," she said in a statement in the Assembly.
George later informed that the monoclonal antibody required for treatment of those infected by the Nipah virus has arrived in the state. She said the stability of the medicine, which is not clinically proven yet but is the only available antiviral treatment for Nipah virus infection, was discussed with a central expert committee.
Schools, colleges to remain closed in Kozhikode
In the wake of the Nipah outbreak, the Kozhikode district collector A. Geetha has declared holiday for all educational institutions, including professional colleges, from September 14 to 16. University and PSC exams schedules, however, remain unchanged.
"All tuition centres and coaching centres in the district should not function on these days. Educational institutes can arrange online classes. These days should not be an occasion for celebrations. Avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings. Caution is prevention,” the collector said in a Facebook post.