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Nipah virus outbreak: Surveillance on Kerala border to continue

Health and Family Welfare Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao on Wednesday said the Nipah surveillance at Kerala borders of the state will continue till October 10 when the incubation period of the last Nipah case reported in Kerala lapses.

Speaking to reporters in Mangaluru after holding a meeting with the health officials of Chamarajanagar, Mysuru, Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada districts which share a border with Kerala, the minister said the state is taking all precautionary measures even though no suspected Nipah cases have been reported in the state so far.

He said alarm has been sounded in border areas and all government and private hospitals are put on high alert. About 20 check posts have been set up in these four districts and over 10,000 people have been screened for fever, cough and other symptoms so far. Hamlets in HD Kote taluk on the border that is within 150 km from the Nipah outbreak centre in Kerala and Mangaluru which has close links with Kerala were put on high alert, he said.

The minister said they are more cautious as Nipah’s fatality rate is 40-70 per cent and there is no vaccination for the disease. “The surveillance will be continued till October 10 when the incubation period of the last Nipah case (September 1) detected in Kerala comes to an end. After that, the surveillance will be relaxed,” he said.

To a query, he said they had not found any Case Definition (people who have visited the Nipah affected place) so far. If we come across such cases, we will take their swab and send them to the virology institute for tests.

Further, the minister said the authorities have been asked to take all necessary measures by keeping the facilities for quarantine, exclusive wards, masks, kits etc., ready to meet any emergencies.

Pharmacists to get more salary
In view of fewer takers for the posts of pharmacists on a contract basis in government hospitals, the health minister said an order has been issued to increase their salary to Rs 17,000 from Rs 12,000. Also, he said they have requested the government to give the approval to fill 100 per cent vacant posts of Group ‘D’ posts in the hospitals. The New Indian Express

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