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NCDC team from Delhi in Kerala after boy tests positive for West Nile virus

India March 15(IM): A seven-year-old boy in Kerala’s Malappuram district has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) disease, which spreads from birds to humans with the bite of an infected Culex mosquito.

The symptoms include cold, fever, bodyache, fatigue and nausea, with complications leading to meningitis and death.

A two-member team of experts from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Delhi joined counterparts in Malappuram on Thursday to support regional and state health authorities to manage the disease.

No other case has been reported yet. “A team from our regional office in Thiruvananthapuram reached the spot on Wednesday but now we have also sent experts from the Delhi centre. We are being extra cautious as it is a vector-borne disease,” said Preeti Sudan, secretary, health. The boy developed symptoms of cold and fever almost two weeks ago, and is being treated in the intensive care unit of Government Medical College & Hospital (GMCH), Kozhikode.

“No other case has tested positive so far and there are no reports of anyone with related symptoms. The boy is undergoing treatment and we hope he recovers well,” said Sudan.

A woman from Kozhikode district was admitted to GMCH seven months ago with WNV-like symptoms. But she did not test positive. The health ministry is closely monitoring the situation and is in touch with the state health department for prevention of WNV disease.

Earlier on Thursday, Kerala additional chief secretary Rajeev Sadanandan briefed Sudan on the situation. NCDC’s expert team includes Dr Ruchi Jain from the regional health office in Trivandrum; entomologist Dr E Rajendran from Calicut, and assistant director Dr Suneet Kaur and epidemic intelligence service officer Binoy Basu from Delhi.

“The Indian Council of Medical Research has been alerted as the samples will be sent for testing to their main lab, National Institute of Virology in Pune,” said Sudan..

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