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Kerala breathes easy as more samples of Nipah test negative

On Wednesday 20 more samples, including those who came in contact with the 12-year-old boy who had succumbed to Nipah virus, were sent for testing at the NIV laboratory, Pune, and turned negative.

IANS | Thiruvananthapuram |

Three days after the first Nipah case surfaced at Kozhikode, Kerala, when a 12-year-old boy succumbed to the deadly virus, on Wednesday 20 more samples that were sent for testing at the NIV laboratory, Pune turned negative.

State Health Minister Veena George on Wednesday told the media that one cannot completely claim things are fine, but the results give us cheer.

“According to the rules of Nipah spread, after the last case is reported, then one waits for 21 days and then for another 21 days, if there are no more fresh cases, then one can say Nipah spread has been contained, so we have to wait more and as such things are fine,” said George.

The results of the 20 samples which were negative included five from those who had symptoms and 15 were those who had direct contact with the deceased.

On Tuesday, 10 samples also reported negative. “Now we are awaiting the results of another 21 more samples, while 68 people are under observation at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital. So at the moment, things are under control,” said George.

She further informed that the testing lab at Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode will also start testing samples today.

“We can do testing of almost all the people who are in isolation at the hospital today itself,” she added. On Monday, she had said, “The RT-PCR and other samples testing will be done in Kozhikode.”

Veena George has been camping in Kozhikode for the past three days since the first case of the Nipah virus this year was reported in the district. A 12-year-old boy died after getting infected by Nipah in Kozhikode.

State Forest Minister A.K. Saseendran said the department will cooperate with all to see samples are collected from bats and domestic animals from the present location, especially in and around the areas of the victim’s house, and for that, a team of officials from NIV Bhopal is on the way.

Meanwhile, the locality of the deceased continues to be cordoned off as a matter of caution.