Stressing that the Health department's priority is to strengthen contact tracing and determine the source of infection, Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Monday said there are chances that the 12-year old boy who succumbed to Nipah may have come in contact with more number of people. George, who met the media here, said the samples of seven people among the 20 high-risk contacts of the child have been sent to the Pune NIV for testing. The child succumbed to Nipah virus early Sunday morning.
"The most important job is to strengthen contact tracing. We are giving special training to our field workers. It is equally important to find the source of infection. Whether this child is the first to get infected or from where this child was infected. We traced 188 contacts yesterday. There can be more contacts. We are trying to locate everyone," she said.
She said there are chances of an increase in the number of contacts as the parents have taken the child to a clinic first, then to a private hospital, then to the medical college and from there to another private hospital.
"Samples of seven among the 20 high-risk contacts of the child have been sent to the Pune NIV. We are expecting the results to come today. We have also sought the help of NIV Bhopal. The Pune NIV will set up a testing facility at Kozhikode medical college today which will help us in getting the results faster," she said.
The Chathamangalam Panchayat and adjacent areas are completely cordoned off after the boy was found infected with Nipah virus. The three-km-radius from the boy's house is now a containment zone.
The Minister had on Sunday said the two healthcare workers, who are among the 20 high-risk contacts of the deceased child, have been identified with symptoms of Nipah virus infection.