Lessons from control of Nipah virus by Kerala

Training sessions for HCW in infection control and treatment regarding Nipah virus were organised

Nipah virus, Kerala, Quarantine, COVID-19, Detection, Isolation, Suspected symptomatic patient

Deaths : 88,502 cases 1,518,719

USA : Death 14,795 cases 435,128

Italy : Death17,669 cases 139,422

Spain :Death14,792  cases 148,220

Germany :Death 2349 cases  113,296

India : Death 166 cases active 5095  recover 472 Delhi 669, Maharashtra 1135,TN 738

209 countries affected

Look at the statistics above! Most of the countries have no experience in dealing with such contagious virus but for us it is not the first time. In,2018, Kerala state successfully controlled  Nipah virus, more deadlier (around 50 %) and contagious. Outbreak happened in second week of May in Kerala but by 1st July, the state was declared free form Nipah, infecting 19 patients only in just two districts of Kerala

Learnings from how Kerala controlled Nipah virus:

-Swift public health response by the State and coordinated efforts of MHFW (GOI) & ICMR averted the spread of the outbreak.

-Focus was on early case detection, isoation and treatment. Suspected symptomatic patient were immediately put in hospital isolation wards and contacts were home quarantined

-Training sessions for HCW in infection control and treatment regarding Nipah virus were organised.

-A control room was opened in the state, with expert groups to monitor home quarantine, contact tracing, isolation, logistics, training of HCW etc

-On the ground, public health official and a panchayat president or urban heath body led monitoring teams in every village.They also fulfill whatever needs such home quarantined people had, ranging from medical assistance to daily needs.

-The state promoted the co-operation between private and public medical facilities.

-Involvement of public at large.opinion leaders, religious leaders, media, civil society organisations were all co-opted into responding to the threat.

-Multiple call centres were opened for the public to clear their doubts and to keep a tab on the mental health of those who were home quarantined.

-Movement of people and visits to the epicenter areas were strongly prohibited.

-Media was made partner in disseminating health messages. Transparent communications was maintained with media and public.

Robust response of the health system ensured that the spread was confined. We already had this tested system, we only have to replicate it in entire country. Together we can do it again.

The author of the article is Dr Narendra Saini, chairman scientific committee, DELHI MEDICAL COUNCIL.

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