The state-run Beliaghata ID Hospital, on Tuesday morning, admitted another patient with symptoms similar to those affected with the deadly Nipah virus (NiV).

As per hospital records, this is the third suspected NiV case in West Bengal till now, after Sofikul and Ashik. The 20-year-old Rajesh Mondal, a resident of Domkal in Murshidabad, worked as a mason in Kerala, where he developed an unknown fever.

“He is down with fever for the past five days. Here the doctor is saying that he has cough and ulcer on his tongue,” said Mondal’s father. Initially, his family took him to Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital for treatment, but later he was referred to Beliaghata ID Hospital.

Mondal is kept secluded and a mask has been put on his mouth. At present, he is kept in IG block-6 on the second floor of the hospital. The other patients in the hospital, who had come for treatment like diarrhea and cholera, were hysterical at the mention of NiV contaminated patient staying at the same hospital premises.

Mala Soren who had come down from Bankura for her husband who is undergoing Diarrhoea treatment in the same hospital, freaked out at the knowledge of NiV patients in ID hospital.

She said: “Is there any chance of us catching that virus since we are now staying in the same hospital.” Her naive question to a media personnel throws light on the little knowledge the rural people have on NiV disease.

The state director of health service (DHS), Dr Ajoy Chakraborty, said: “We are not yet sure if the suspected patients are affected with NiV. Only the medical tests can prove them NiV positive.”

He has assured the people that the state hospitals have enough equipment to control the deadly virus. At the same time, to control the spread of NiV, Asis Kumar Samanta, director of Alipore Zoological Garden put up boards in the zoo premises, thus forbidding visitors, inmates from eating the fruits that are lying on the ground and also from feeding the zoo animals.

This step is taken considering the fact that the zoological garden contains about 5,000 bats and there is possibility of the nocturnal creatures contaminating the fruits.

Dr Samanta said: “Inside zoological gardens, we have many fruit trees including mangoes, rose apple and black jamun trees. We have advised the zoo garden workers, their family members and visitors not to eat the fruits that fell from the trees or feed the animals the same.”