Patna: Chief minister Nitish Kumar directed the health authorities on Monday to spread awareness about Nipah virus infection and the message of preventive methods to be adopted as Kerala, where the cases have been reported from, is a popular tourist destination.
Nitish was at his secretariat, laying the foundation stones of health-related schemes, when he issued the directions. He said there were chances of Nipah cases being reported because of visits to Kerala and tourist inflow to Bihar as well.
Last week, State Health Society Bihar’s epidemiologist Ragini Mishra had said the government has issued an advisory on the Nipah virus, directing officials to spread awareness that people should avoid eating fruits bitten by animals and bats, and also toddy (fermented palm sap) because of chances of contamination in palm fruits.
Medical college and hospitals in Patna have already taken steps to handle Nipah cases on instructions from the health department.
Patna Medical College and Hospital superintendent Deepak Tandon said a two-bed isolation intensive care unit is ready at the hospital. “The symptoms that have so far been reported among Nipah patients admitted in Kerala are respiratory distress and severe encephalitis symptoms – all of which require ICU admission for critical care. If any person is suspected to have contracted the virus here, s/he will be directly admitted to the isolation ICU, and then be moved to an isolation ward after being stabilised. We have converted a big hall into an isolation ward for Nipah cases,” said Tandon.
The hospital, Dr Tandon said, will arrange for protective gear for doctors and paramedics handling suspected Nipah cases once any patient is admitted. “Doctors already have masks at the hospital. So far as the other protective gear is concerned, that can be purchased locally. Not a single Nipah case has been reported in Bihar. The disease has remained localised, as cases have only been found in Kerala,” he added.
Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences’ medical superintendent Manish Mandal and Nalanda Medical College and Hospital superintendent Anand Prasad Singh also said their respective hospitals have made the necessary arrangements. “We have booked four isolation ICUs. Besides, doctors and other hospital staff have been asked to follow protocol for viral patients,” said Dr Mandal.
“Suspected patients have to be admitted in the ICU without wasting any time.” The hospital already has the protective gear required for such viral cases.
NMCH’s Dr Singh said an eight-bed isolation ward has been created and the process to purchase protective gear has been started.
Courtesy: The Telegraph