There are no cases of Nipah virus in Tamil Nadu, officials from the state government have debunked fake news after news agency ANI reported that one case of Nipah has been detected in Tamil Nadu. Speaking to TNM, Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan told TNM that the media report by ANI was ‘misreporting’ and that the Coimbatore Collector had gone to the border with Kerala to step up checks after a Nipah death was reported in the neighbouring state.
"It's false news. They (media organisations) should be responsible. The Collector had gone to the border of Kerala, and said there was one case in Kerala. It has been twisted and misreported. It is false."J Radhakrishnan, Health Secretary, Tamil Nadu
"People should know the mechanism,” the state’s health secretary added. “Even if Nipah is there, I have to first send a sample to Pune from King Institute in Guindy. The Coimbatore Collector simply visited the border to ensure proper precautions are being taken and there he has said there is one case in Calicut (Kozhikode)."
Besides, the official added, the protocol to announce the outbreak of diseases will have to be made by the Health Secretary or the Minister.
The official handle of news agency ANI had misreported that one case of Nipah had been detected “in the district,” although it does not mention which state and district. A video of the Collector speaking to the media shows that he spoke about the measures being taken in the state and said that 13 checkpoints had been set up between Kerala and Coimbatore. This, officials say, was misquoted by the news agency. Another English news channel had tweeted saying one case was detected in Coimbatore.
Tamil Nadu has been stepping up measures to screen people coming from Kerala after the death of a 12-year-old boy in Kerala’s Kozhikode district due to the Nipah virus infection, to ensure the communicable disease does not spread to Tamil Nadu. Fever clinics and screening points have been set up in nine districts of Tamil Nadu bordering Kerala. Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Thenkasi, Virudhunagar, Theni, Dindigul, Tiruppur, Coimbatore and Nilgiris are the districts bordering Kerala.
In the latest case of the Nipah virus case in Kerala, two health workers were symptomatic while other primary and secondary contacts of the 12-year-old boy are being closely monitored.
Nipah virus (NiV) outbreak was earlier reported in West Bengal, both in 2001 and 2007. The 2018 outbreak in Kerala's Kozhikode district was the third instance in India. While Kerala reported one NiV case in 2019, it was contained quickly, with no fatalities.
(This story was first published in The News Minute and republished here with permission.)