Bengal Gears Up In Wake Of Nipah Virus Outbreak

Kolkata: Tests have ruled out bats being behind the spread of the Nipah virus that took 12 lives in Kerala’s Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, sparking global concerns as the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the Nipah infection as a public health risk with epidemic potential.
The state health department is leaving no stone unturned in preparedness. District health officials and administrators of all hospitals to be on the alert, nodal officials have also been selected and ID Hospital Beliaghata has been asked to gear up in case of an outbreak.
The health department has identified ID Hospital Beliaghata as the apex hospital for NiV. The wing of Integrated Disease Surveillance Progamme (IDSP) in Swasthya Bhawan has been activated.
The CMOH in the districts have been asked to prepare a list of people who have come from Kerala within 21 days. Beliaghata Infectious Diseases Hospital has been made the nodal hospital.
The state government has already issues do’s and don’t’s. The doctors have asked people not to panic but as prevention is always better, elaborate arrangements have been made to combat the disease.
There are only three places in the country where the blood samples can be collected to find out the virus. They are at Manipal, Bhopal and Pune. There is no BSL 4 laboratory in the state and if the state government wants, then the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases can collect the samples and send them for testing.
All hospitals have been asked to report any case of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) on daily basis. A nodal officer in Swasthya Bhawan has also been entrusted to keep a track of all the action taken by hospitals in case of an AES case.
These cases start with acute fever, respiratory distress accompanied by neurological manifestations like confusion, disorientation and lastly coma. The characteristics of AES are symptoms of NiV infection.