Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held a press conference on Tuesday to provide an update on the Nipah outbreak in Kozhikode district. He stated that while the situation is currently under control, the threat of the infectious disease has not been completely eliminated, and the possibility of a second wave cannot be ruled out. Vijayan said, "A Nipah review meeting was held here today. Health experts are of the opinion that the possibility of a second wave is very remote but cannot be completely ruled out."
He expressed relief that the disease had not spread widely in the state, attributing the effective containment to the state's health system and early detection of the virus. Despite the controlled spread, Vijayan mentioned that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has not been able to determine why Nipah cases continue to emerge in northern Kozhikode. Samples from 36 bats were tested, but no virus was found. Additional samples will be collected in the coming days.
The government has taken steps to conduct a zero surveillance study to better understand the recurring outbreaks. Vijayan highlighted that information from the ICMR study on bats would be available to the state, and research involving the collection of samples without capturing bats would be carried out with the assistance of the Institute of Advanced Virology.
Testing for Nipah will continue at the microbiology lab at Kozhikode Medical College and the Institute of Advanced Virology Lab at Thonnakkal. Currently, 994 individuals are under surveillance, with samples collected from 304 people. Six individuals have tested positive, and nine are under observation at Kozhikode Medical College.
In response to the Nipah outbreak, the Health Department has also formed a psycho-social support team as part of its prevention activities. Nipah cases were previously reported in the Kozhikode district in 2018 and 2021, making the current outbreak the third occurrence in recent years.