Nipah alert: TN takes no chances
Chennai, June 07: With one confirmed Nipah case in neighbouring Kerala, Tamil Nadu has stepped up efforts to screen those sick travelling to the State through the border districts and prevent the entry of the virus.
The state is maintaining strict vigil in seven districts on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border, Tamil Nadu Health Minister Vijaya Bhaskar said on Thursday.
The government has taken steps like putting in place more mobile medical teams, screening the sick travelling from Kerala, increased awareness drives, attending queries from people, among others, the minister said.
"The sick travelling from Kerala to TN through Theni, Kanyakumari, Tiruvallur, Tiruppur and Coimbatore will be screened. Awareness drives have been increased," the minister told reporters here, adding that steps have been taken to prevent entry of the potentially deadly virus into the state.
Officials have been instructed to send surveillance reports of fever cases, particularly if there are clusters of cases, to "our control room," he said.
More number of mobile medical teams have been deployed in seven districts bordering Kerala, he added.
According to a senior official in the health department, detailed guidelines and alert on prevention and control of Nipah virus infection has been issued concerned directorates functioning under the department.
Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services has been advised to establish temporary isolation wards and ensure availability of adequate personal protective equipment, drugs and lifesaving equipment like ventilators.
A 24-hour control room is functioning in Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine to monitor the situation based on the news from all the channels, the official said, adding that over 2,500 hospitals have been requested to ensure standard infection control practices.
Instructions to strengthen surveillance to look out for the cluster of acute encephalitis cases have been given, besides monitoring daily incidence of cases involving infectious diseases including acute encephalitis syndrome and influenza like illness (ILI), the official said.
Coimbatore government hospital dean Dr B Ashokan said as a precautionary measure, a separate fever isolation ward has been readied at the hospital.
The condition of the 23-year-old college student, diagnosed with Nipah infection, is stable now, according to Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja.
A total of 316 people, who had interacted with the student, have been kept under observation in the neighbouring state.