Nipah virus: Goa govt to ask doctors to stay vigilant

Panaji : The Goa government has said that though there is no case of Nipah virus reported in the state so far, it would ask doctors to stay vigilant.

If doctors find a patient showing symptoms of the virus, which has claimed 10 lives in Kerala, they would be asked to immediately send that person’s samples for laboratory testing, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said today.

He notified a committee, headed by the health secretary and other department officers, which would draw a protocol, in case there are cases of the virus reported in the tourist state.

“At present, there is no reason to worry as there is not a single case of Nipah virus in Goa. The Centre has also not issued any alert except for a general advisory, briefing about the origin and symptoms of the virus,” Rane told reporters this morning.

He said as part of the general advisory, “a circular would be issued to all private and government doctors in the state to stay vigilant about symptoms of the virus being seen in any patient.”

Doctors would be asked to send samples of such patients to the state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital, which would then send it to the Pune-based National Institute of Virology for testing, he said.

The Centre has asked the state to investigate such cases on an urgent basis, the minister added.

The Nipah virus has so far claimed 10 lives in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in north Kerala.

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.