Bengaluru, Karnataka: In response to the Nipah virus outbreak in neighboring Kerala, the Karnataka state government has initiated a series of proactive measures to safeguard public health and contain the potential spread of the virus. State Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao has provided directives to health officials, emphasizing the importance of swift action in the face of this emerging threat.
One of the key strategies implemented by the Karnataka government involves the reinforcement of fever surveillance, particularly in Dakshina Kannada and districts sharing borders with Kerala. Officials have been instructed to be vigilant for individuals who exhibit fever symptoms, have a recent travel history to Kozhikode in Kerala, or have been in direct contact with a confirmed Nipah virus case. These individuals are now being considered potentially vulnerable to infection.
To ensure adequate healthcare infrastructure, an isolation ward has been established at Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru. Private and medical college hospitals have also received directives to promptly notify district surveillance officers if they come across symptomatic cases. Medical colleges, in addition to other healthcare facilities, have been mandated to establish isolation wards.
It is crucial to distinguish between Nipah virus cases and other fever-related illnesses. District Health Officer of Dakshina Kannada, Dr. Sudarshan, clarified that not all fever cases would be treated as Nipah. Specifically, individuals suffering from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) with high fever and seizures will have their samples sent to the National Institute of Virology lab in Pune for further testing.
Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao has personally directed health officials to take comprehensive measures to curb the spread of the virus and provide treatment to infected individuals. Rao emphasized the importance of readiness, stating, “Officials have been instructed to make sure that all districts, taluks, and medical college hospitals maintain a stock of medicines, oxygen, and other essential items required to treat Nipah-affected patients.” Furthermore, officials are responsible for ensuring that samples, including throat swabs, urine, and blood, from suspected cases are sent promptly to the National Institute of Virology lab in Pune for accurate diagnosis.
As Karnataka takes these proactive steps to safeguard its population against the Nipah virus, the government remains committed to maintaining a high level of vigilance and cooperation with neighboring states. This collective effort is essential to mitigate the risk and potential impact of the outbreak and to ensure the safety and well-being of the people of Karnataka.