No fresh Nipah positive cases were reported in the state since September 16 with 218 samples of persons who were in the high-risk contact list turning up negative for the virus till date, the Kerala government said on Monday.

State Health Minister Veena George reiterated that the situation was under control and told reporters that in view of the comforting news, the government has decided to grant some relaxations in the areas declared as containment zones on September 13.

Kerala Tourism Minister PA Mohamed Riyas, who was also part of the press briefing, said that relaxations would be announced soon in 58 containment wards in the district.

The ministers said that a final decision would be taken by the District Collector based on the recommendations of an expert panel.

On how the virus was transmitted from bats to humans, George said that the surveys by the government and the ICMR’s bat surveillance team have found that the Nipah was transferred from the mammals through their saliva in places where they go to feed.

So it was imperative that fruits or vegetables bitten by bats are not eaten by humans, she added.

“In a few days we will get a complete picture regarding this,” she said.

Riyas said online classes in educational institutions in the district were going on effectively and everywhere there was an air of cooperation

between members of the public and the authorities.

Till Monday evening, 1,270 contacts were traced and some of them through the help of the police, George said and added that over 47,000 homes had come under surveillance in the district till now.

She also said that the Animal Husbandry department held a meeting with the Forest and other departments and subsequently, decided to carry out a continuous community surveillance.

Regarding the four Nipah infected patients, including a nine-year-old boy, the state Health Minister said their medical condition was stable.

The last Nipah positive case reported in the state was on September 15.

The minister had on Sunday said as no new positive Nipah cases were reported, the containment and quarantine measures would remain in place for 42 days from the last positive case reported.

The incubation period of the virus is 21 days and therefore, “a double incubation period of 42 days from the last positive case” is considered as the period during which caution has to be exercised, George had explained.

The total number of cases of Nipah infection confirmed in the state are six, of which two persons have died and four people are being treated.

The World Health Organisation and ICMR studies have found that the entire state, not just Kozhikode, is prone to such infections.
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