Tracking the Nipah scare that Kerala battled
The recent outbreak of the nipah virus in the city of Kozhikode had caused major panic as schools and shops remained shut and hospitals were avoided. People refused to leave their homes, life in the city had almost come to a standstill.
The first case of nipah was found in Mohammed Sabith (23) on May 5 which was initially not identified and it is still not clear from who or where the disease first got transmitted. It has now come under control and no new cases have been identified. Let's take a look at how it affected the working life of people in the city.
Dr. Anoop Kumar, chief of the critical care department of Baby Memorial Hospital, Calicut is one of the doctors who played a key role in identifying the nipah virus in the second victim who was admitted in the hospital. "After the outbreak was declared a lot of auto and taxi drivers refused to come to the hospital for fear of being affected by the virus. Relatives of patients coming in for regular follow ups were also scared of accompanying them to the hospital. But now it's gradually settling down as there have not been any new cases reported recently.", said Dr. Anoop.
The health department played a commendable role in controlling the panic that broke out in the city, as fake whatsapp messages circulated across the city. The government took strong action and arrested almost 23 people responsible for spreading fake news and instigating fear amongst the people. A very effective core team was formed to stop the outbreak of the disease and to control the panic. Almost 2600 people who were related to the patients infected by the disease were contacted every day to find any symptoms related to the disease and were given proper awareness. As the disease spreads only when the patient becomes symptomatic, any patient showing symptoms were put into isolation. Reopening of schools were postponed by about two weeks, public meetings were banned, all sorts of training courses, including tuitions were asked to be stopped to avoid the assembly of people and work at construction sites all over Calicut were paused for the month.
"It was not a single department that helped in the regulations but a team effort headed by the health minister. The media was also of great support in spreading awareness among the people to negate the fake messages coming out of the social media. Credit also must be given to all the people of Calicut who were very supportive", said Corporate Health Officer, Mr Gopakumar.
18 cases have been reported until now in which two have recovered from the infection. No new cases have been reported recently and the authorities have confirmed that everything is now normal. However, as a precaution the people have been asked to continue taking all necessary safety measures. Government hospitals are geared up to take care of any emergency situation that may arise.