Thiruvananthapuram: Pune’s National Institute of Virology has confirmed that the Kerala youth, who was admitted to a private hospital in Ernakulam with high fever for 10 days, is affected by the Nipah virus.

Earlier reports had suggested that the Thrissur's 23-year-old had symptoms of Nipah. Kerala health minister KK Shailaja had also announced in a press conference that Nipah virus is confirmed in the admitted youth in the state.

A year ago, Nipah virus had claimed 18 lives in Kozhikode. Isolation wards have been also created at three government medical colleges — Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kozhikode to treat suspected persons.

A control room has been opened at the Ernakulam District Collectorate, which is established alongside the District’s Disaster Management Division. Shailaja said expert doctors have been deputed 24/7 at the control room.  If needed, isolation wards will be formed in the neighbouring districts of Ernakulam, she added. Shailaja said two nurses have also reported illness in the hospital and they were given special treatment.

Shailaja said the Health Department had identified 86 persons, who had come in contact with the patient who is presently admitted in Ernakulam. They are under the close watch of the Health Department. Immediate steps will be taken if any one of them show symptoms of the disease, she said.

The admitted youth had gone for an internship programme at Keltron in Thrissur and returned home after he fell sick. The institution where the student is studying, places he visited as part of his education and the people he came close to, are all under observation by the health department. It might also be a case of viral or bacterial encephalitis, according to reports.

"The government is closely monitoring the current situation," Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a Facebook post and urged everyone to follow the instructions of the Health department.

"No one needs to be afraid. Be alert. The health department is all set to face any situation," Vijayan added.