Nipah Virus 2023: How a Doctor in Kerala Identified the Deadly Infection
The critical care specialist Dr A S Anoop Kumar was instrumental in identifying the latest outbreak of Nipah in Kerala. Here are the steps he followed to detect the infection
- He and his team were alerted after an adult and three children from a family turned up with unusual clinical symptoms at Aster MIMS hospital on Sept 9-10.
- He found out that the father of the kids had died on August 30 at another private hospital in Kozhikode with symptoms of pneumonia. He had tested negative for Covid and influenza1.
- He spoke to the wife of the deceased and learned that he had symptoms like slurred speech, disorientation and diplopia, which were neurological symptoms.
- His nine-year-old son, who was admitted at Aster MIMS hospital with breathing difficulty, had a seizure and was put on ventilator support. That also raised suspicions as seizures were not a common symptom associated with pneumonia.
- He noticed that the patients came from an area which was 10km away from Soopikada where the first case of 2018 was reported and preliminary lab test parameters gave an indication that it could be Nipah.
- He sent five samples to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for testing. Out of the five, three were positive, including the person who died on September 11. Based on this, he confirmed that the first person who died on August 30 must also be positive for the virus.