Kerala offers Rs 20-lakh aid to family of nurse who died of Nipah virus, job to husband


Kozhikkode, May 23: The Kerala government has announced monetary aid of Rs 20 lakh for the family of Lini Puthussery, a 31-year-old nurse who died after attending to those infected by the deadly Nipah virus in the state.
The administration also offered to provide her husband – Sajish – with a government job if he was willing to stay in Kerala, and promised a compensatory sum of Rs 5 lakh each to the relatives of other deceased.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said this after his cabinet reviewed the situation in northern Kerala on Wednesday. While the official toll of the Nipah outbreak in the state has touched 11, unconfirmed reports put the number at 15.
Meanwhile, state authorities maintained that the virus has been effectively contained, with no fresh cases being reported from affected areas in the last 24 hours. Health minister KK Shailaja told mediapersons that timely intervention has curtailed the damage to an extent, although the worst-hit areas are likely to be on high alert for some more time. She also expressed satisfaction with the help extended by the central government.
“No fresh case has been reported from the districts of Kozhikode and Malappuram. We have effectively contained the scourge. The central team has advised us to provide Ribavirin tablets to the affected,” she said.
The National Virology Institute in Pune had confirmed the presence of the Nipah virus in 12 people, and samples of 18 more with the same symptoms are being tested. Health officials said that as the incubation period of the virus is anywhere between 4-18 days, they will continue to monitor everybody who may have come into contact with the deceased. At least 19 persons have been placed under observation, and another 30 quarantined in their dwellings.
Although the central team initially said that the disease was not airborne, they later clarified that the virus may affect anybody in a radius of at least one metre if the patient sneezes. They identified isolation and quarantine as the best options to contain the outbreak.
National Animal Husbandry commissioner Dr S Suresh said the Nipah virus was not detected in domestic animals. “Also, we are yet to confirm if bats are the prime suspects (in helping the virus spread),” he added.
A team from the World Health Organization expressed satisfaction with the medical arrangements made by the state government. (Courtesy: HT)