Kerala nurse attending to Nipah-patients dies, death toll reaches 10
A nurse taking care of Nipah-infected patients at Perambra Taluk Hospital in Kozhikode has succumbed to the virus, taking the death toll in Kerala to 10 until yesterday. 31-year-old Lini contracted the virus from a patient she was attending to, who eventually died, acquaintances said. She couldn't even meet her children or husband, who had flown down from the Gulf due to her sickness.
Friends and colleagues said Lini was attending to a youth from Changaroth "who had initially sought treatment for fever at Perambra," but was later diagnosed with Nipah. "She realized she had contracted a possibly-fatal infection after the youth died," her uncle V Balan said. The United Nurses Association said since she had died in the line of duty, the government should provide aid.
Lini's note to her husband Sajeesh has touched hearts. "I'm almost on the way. Don't think I'll be able to meet you. Look after our children well. Take them to the Gulf once. Don't be alone like our father," she wrote, talking about 5-year-old Sidharth and 2-year-old Rithul. After death, she was electronically-cremated without taking the body home to prevent spreading of the virus.
Two people in Kerala are still critical and undergoing treatment. Locals have taken up preventive steps like wearing masks and gloves. But no new cases have been recorded in the last 24 hours, Health Minister KK Shailaja said. Tamil Nadu and Goa have said there's no need to panic, but both states are gearing up to fight a possible outbreak.
While there are no vaccines at present to immunize people against the Nipah Virus, experts have suggested that tackling risk factors might prove to be more effective in prevention. It's supremely important to avoid any food/drink which has had the chance to be contaminated by bats. It's also important to maintain distance with an infected person, and sanitize and wash hands and clothes afterwards.
Owing to the absence of a vaccine, treatment for NiV-infected patients are currently only limited to supportive care. While not conclusive, intensive supportive care has earlier proved to be relatively effective in helping patients fight the infection. However, it's extremely important to take standard infection control precautions while treating someone, owing to the contagious nature of the infection.