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This is how India defeated Nipah virus once, deadlier than Coronavirus

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Today India is fighting the widespread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) that has engulfed the entire world in its clutches. With the new numbers of infected cases shot up to 73 as of Thursday 13 March, central and state governments all over the country have started preparations to defend the pandemic.

During this dire situation lets not forget how Kerala fought much fatal Nipah virus and achieved a decisive victory just 2 years back in 2018. Not only did the Kerala government controlled it, but it also well identified the diseases through quick action at a very early stage. With immediate quarantine procedures prepared on hand, doctors quickly reported government and WHO to bring their attention.

This swift action immediately quarantined over 2000 people of Kozhikode and Malappuram area before the outbreak could progress further. State government officially declared the outbreak over on 10th June 2018. The death toll halted at 17, It did not spread any further, all thanks to brilliant team of doctors and fully prepared administration.

What made Nipah virus deadly?

Nipah virus derives its name from Malaysian Village, Sungai Nipah from where it was first discovered in 1998. It killed as many as over 100 people in that region. Nipah, as we know so far, has no vaccine or any type of cure. It is entirely dependent on the immunity of an individual and another way to prevent it was to suppress its spread. Initial signs and symptoms are also very unspecific making it very difficult to diagnose and detect an outbreak.

As per the tests reported in 2018, Nipah outbreak had its origins traced to fruit bats – the ones belonging to family Pteropodidae. Mohammed Sabith was the first victim of Nipah virus. He had supposedly consumed fruit bitten by virus-infected fruit bats. From there it spread to another 16 persons who also succumbed to its infection.

Infected people initially develop symptoms including fever, headaches, myalgia (muscle pain), vomiting and sore throat. This can be followed by dizziness, drowsiness, altered consciousness, and neurological signs that indicate acute encephalitis.

Some people can also experience atypical pneumonia and severe respiratory problems, including acute respiratory distress. Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours. 

– World Health Organization

What’s more worrisome is that Nipah is also contagious and can spread from person-to-person contact. The damage of Nipah is much worse than Coronavirus. The fatality rate of Nipah stands at 40% to 75%. On the contrary, Coronavirus has a mere 3.4%.

How India defeated Nipah virus?

With a threatening virus outbreak looming all over the state, Kerala state authority and doctors had very little time to identify the diseases and control its spread. For weeks to come there can only be some miracle which can make it happen. It is only after crafted planning and action made on a war footing can stop this calamity. Nipah has a fatality rate of around 70%, making it life-extremely life-threatening.

Mohammed Sabith, the first victim of Kozhikode died soon after a few days of getting sick. He died of unknown causes. It was only when doctors were treating his brother, Muhammad Salih for the same type of sickness, they were slowly able to progress in their research.

Salih condition was deteriorating and doctors reported that his initial symptoms were just like of acute Enciphalitis – A viral infection that leads to auto-immune mechanism where immune disease which attacks brain tissue in severe condition. However, further research concluded that it was not Enciphalitis. Unfortunately, before doctors can figure it out Salih succumbed to infection. Following his death, emergency research started to establish the cause.

The Miracle

Dr Anoop Kumar, Dr Ajith K Gopan and Dr Ganga Prasad where the first doctors who had their first major break through to find Nipah behind the outbreak. It was Dr. Anoop’s friend Dr G Arunkumar that pulled out the miracle after working tirelessly to confirm the virus. He worked at Manipal Centre for Virus Research. Dr. Arunkumar ran severe tests to establish conformance and finally he came up with the reports that showed presence of Nipah.

Dr. Arunkumar received all the samples of Cerebrospinal fluid, blood, urine and throat swabs from team of doctors who were operating on Salih. Later, he also sent Salih’s samples to National Institute of Virology in Pune to further confirm results.

In meantime without delaying any further, Doctors immediately brief this situation to government and publich health officials. As a part of secondary action entire city administration got into full action. Even long before National Institute of Virology can declare their test results Kerala’s administration started rolling out immediate quarantine procedures for its citizens.

The Sacrifice

“I don’t think I will be able to see you again. Sorry. Please raise our children well.”

Lini Puthussery, 31 years old nurse died of Nipah virus

Lini Puthussery, a 31 year old nurse left her last words for her husband before dying due to Nipah virus infection. Dire situation always brings out great heroes from the society, in this case it was sister Lini who devotted her life to save people battling Nipah and in doing so she lost hers.

She admitted herself in hospital after she felt feverish and saw the same symptoms cropping up. Her condition further worsened and authorities moved her to intensive care unit. After brief struggle she died and leaving two little kids behind her, her death was no less than that of a Martyr

Steps taken by Government to control Nipah

Officials started preparing Kovai Medical Center and Hospital (KMCH) to treat the suspected victims. Health lines were setup and officials urged people to call on those help lines to report their symptoms. They even organised a separate Ambulance service to carry all patients to KMCH.

Kerala health advisory even issued a travel advisory to people travelling to Kerala to be very cautious. Officials kept over 2000 people from Kozhikode and Malappuram under quarantine following the deadly outbreak. Health officials set up all other necessary measures like medical camps and quarantine room.

Media Hypocrisy

CNBC’s Jim O’Neil yesterday made this statement on India to which James palmer shared a piece of information with him from the recent past below.

Jim O’Neil comments about India on something that his brain cannot measure. It seems evident that Coronavirus nightmare can also force trolls like him to share irresponsible material on Internet. He should have examined the current situation in London following Coronavirus pandemic where situation was far more sinister.

Here is what one of the leading Health Expert of UK, Prof John Aston has to say on current situation of Britian on handling Corona.

“We have a superficial prime minister who has got no grasp of public health,”

“Our lot are behaving like 19th-century colonialists playing a five-day game of cricket.

– Dr. PRof. John Aston (UK)

He further adds “This virus will find the weak points. You can’t just plan this from an office in Whitehall. It’s pathetic. The government doesn’t seem to understand classic public health. You need to be out and about. You need to get your hands dirty – though preferably gloved and using frequent gel,”.

James Palmer gave befitting reply to the tweet that Jim O’Neil shared. Jim might now have known this, but India had all means of battling Corona fully prepared including mandatory screening on places like Airports when UK was sleeping while every passenger walked freely from theirs.

I have not even started to compare how quickly India initiated plans to evacuate their nationals stuck outside.

Steps Taken by Indian Government to control Coronavirus

Currently, there are 19,400 globally reported cases of Coronavirus. As a course of action to fight Coronavirus India is already ahead of many other countries to stop its spread. The government has suspended all tourists visas until April 15.

The suspension will begin on March 13 at 12.00 GMT. Now the travelers, including Indians will have to go through a 14-day quarantine procedure upon arrival at the Indian airports. Especially those who are traveling from China, Italy, the Republic of Korea, France, Spain, and Germany.

In the capital city Delhi, all Cinemas, Halls, and Schools will remain closed for 1 month following the spread. Even many IT companies in India have asked employees to work from home after certain individuals showed positive test results. Since travelers are more prone to carry infection, the airports are already on high alert. Incoming international passengers have to mandatory present their health history to health officials.

Jaishankar – Minister of External Affairs has also arranged airlift of Indian pilgrims stuck in Iran upon travel suspension. Earlier government had also airlifted many Indians stuck in Wuhan – the origin of Coronavirus. Similarly, India will soon help Indians stranded in Italy. The foreign Ministry is soon planning to provide important medicinal supplies to Indians stuck in Italy.

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