Nipah virus: No need to panic in Goa, says govt

Goa, IndiaUpdated: May 22, 2018, 06:27 PM IST

Medics wearing protective gear examine a patient at a hospital in Kozhikode, Kerala. Photograph:(Reuters)

In the wake of Nipah virus claiming 10 lives in Kerala, the Goa government today said there was nothing to worry about in the state, but measures were still being taken to prevent its possible spread.

"As of now, there is no alert issued for Goa by any agency, including the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), whose team is in Kerala assessing the ground-level situation," Dr Utkarsh Betodkar, State Surveillance Officer of Directorate of Health Services said.

He said there was no need to panic as it has not affected the entire state of Kerala, but only a specific area of Kozhikode.

The Nipah virus has so far claimed 10 lives in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in north Kerala, while the condition of two persons undergoing treatment for the viral disease is said to be critical, the Kerala government has confirmed.

According to Betodkar, the Goa government was not taking any chances and has already contacted Manipal Centre for Virus Research (MCVR) to assess the situation.

Responding to a question, the officer said there was no need to screen the tourists arriving from Kerala.

"Screening of the tourists or visitors can happen only when there are specific guidelines issued by the Centre. Right now, there are no such guidelines," he said.

Fruit-eating bats are the primary host of the Nipah Virus, which can cause disease in both animals and humans.

So far, there is no vaccine against the virus, which was first identified in 1998 in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia.