Kerala, Health and Family Welfare Department has put out a notice asking people to take necessary precautions ahead of the Nipah transmission season beginning from December till about June.
The letter signed by Health Secretary Rajeev Sadanand has asked the Director of Health Services and Director of Medical Education to warn the public not to eat fruits bitten by bats and to consume all fruits and vegetables after properly washing them.
“Instructions are also issued to all Medical Colleges, district hospitals and Taluk hospitals to adopt precaution dealing with patients suffering from ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome),” the letter stated.
Persons suffering from cough are to be directed to a ‘cough corner’ in the hospital where they will be supplied with masks. The circular also states that a separate warning will be issued on how to tackle with other emerging pathogens.
Instructions by the Kerala government to the public:
1. Do not eat fruits bitten by bats.
2. Consume all fruits and vegetables after properly washing them.
3. Use a mask if you have a cough.
4. Those suffering from cough are also directed to use a towel and cover their mouth whenever they step outside the house or interact with other family members inside the house.
On 19 May 2018, the Nipah virus broke out in Permabra town of Kozhikode in Kerala. The virus resulted in the deaths of 19 people over the period of its outbreak.
The virus which is said to be caused by fruit bats, put the entire state on high alert with thousands being quarantined to check for symptoms.
Direct contact with infected pigs, other infected animals, or through contaminated fruits (half-eaten fruits left by fruit bats), and even direct contact with sick persons have been cited as the underlying cause of outbreaks.>