In a groundbreaking development, a nine-year-old boy infected with Nipah virus has made a remarkable recovery from ventilator support, according to ASTER MIMS Hospital.

Kerala has received a significant relief as four individuals undergoing treatment for Nipah virus in Kozhikode have successfully overcome the deadly infection.

However, the source of the index case’s infection remains elusive as tests on fruit bats did not detect the presence of the virus in their bodies.

State Health Minister Veena George shared the “joyful news,” confirming that all four Nipah patients have tested negative.

She stated, “Two successive tests conducted on the four patients at different intervals have yielded negative results. Among the survivors is a nine-year-old boy who had been on ventilator support.”

Kerala has experienced four Nipah outbreaks since 2018. In previous instances, only two patients had survived, one in Kozhikode in 2018 and another in Kochi in 2019. With the recovery of four cases this year, the total number of survivors of Nipah cases in the state has risen to six. In 2018, 17 out of 18 infected individuals and one in 2021 had succumbed to the virus. In 2023, two Nipah-related deaths were reported.

On September 12 of this year, Kozhikode reported the Nipah virus for the third time since 2018. Six cases were confirmed, and two of them, including the index case, passed away before the virus was diagnosed. Of the six cases, five were infected by the index case, a 47-year-old individual who died on August 30. The second victim died on September 11. Among the four survivors, two were from the index case’s family, and the other two positive cases also contracted the virus from the index case.

Aster MIMS Hospital in Kozhikode, where the nine-year-old boy received treatment, announced that this is the first instance globally of a Nipah-infected person recovering from ventilator support. A 25-year-old individual was also treated at ASTER MIMS.

Dr. A S Anoopkumar, Director of Critical Care at Aster MIMS Kerala, who played a pivotal role in diagnosing the infection, remarked, “This is the first time in the world that a Nipah patient has been successfully weaned off ventilator support. He tested negative for the virus on Wednesday, and the second test on Thursday also came back negative. They will be discharged today but will need to remain in home quarantine for the next two weeks.”

Following the Nipah outbreak in Kozhikode, the health department implemented numerous measures to prevent further spread. Nine panchayats in the eastern part of the district, as well as a section of the Kozhikode municipal corporation, were designated as containment zones for over a week. Approximately 1,300 individuals were placed under observation, and educational institutions in the district were closed for the past week due to a government-declared holiday.

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