The Ministry of Health (MOH), represented by the Directorate General for Disease Surveillance and Control, is closely monitoring the epidemiological situation of Nipah virus disease in the state of Kerala, India. India has reported 14 confirmed human cases resulting in 12 fatalities until 24th May 2018 in the districts of Kozhikode (Calicut) and Malappuram in Kerala.
The virus is an emerging disease that is transmitted by bats and results in severe disease in humans. The infection is characterized by clinical features such as fever and severe respiratory syndrome as well as features of serious fatal brain infection.
Based on current data and continuous communication between the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of India, the Directorate assessed the risk of spread of infection outside the state of Kerala, and concluded that the chance of spread of the disease is limited.
As for the Sultanate, the risk is very limited and is mainly due to travel to and from the affected areas. Therefore, the Ministry urges all citizens and residents to avoid travel to Kozhikode (Calicut) and Malappuram districts in the state of Kerala during this time unless due to extreme necessity. MOH also urged that those returning from these areas should approach the nearest health care institutions if they develop fever and associated symptoms within three weeks of their return.
The MOH also assures that the possibility of transmission of the disease through imported fruits from the Republic of India is negligible, noting the need to wash the fruits properly before consumption.
The Ministry has prepared guidelines for dealing with suspected cases of the disease, which has been circulated to all health institutions in the Sultanate. It has also provided the required laboratory tests to diagnose the disease.
The Ministry affirms that all citizens and residents must seek information from their official sources and communicate with the Ministry through the Contact Center at (24441999) in case of any inquiry.
The Ministry will continue to monitoring closely the epidemiological status of the disease, reassess the risk and will provide updates whenever required.