Health minister says, equipments will take some time to reach.
Mumbai: Though the state said on Tuesday it is taking proactive measures to prevent the spread of Nipah virus, the special protective gear that the medics and paramedics must wear while treating a suspected patient is allegedly not available at hospitals run by the state and the civic body, said sources. The gears will have to be sourced from abroad, said sources.
“The first person coming in contact with the Nipah virus while treating patients are the medics and paramedics.
For them, the protective equipment such as the PAPR (Positive Air Pressure Respirators) is a must but it is yet to arrive in our hospitals,” said Dr Madhav Sathe, a senior microbiologist from civic-run KEM hospital.
He added, “Medical workers need to wear comprehensive protective gear, which is must while treating the patient infected by Nipah virus.”
When asked about the lack of the safety gears, the state health minister Dr Deepak Sawant said, “There is no need of panic, we have already issued an order for a set-up of isolation wards in all government and civic- run hospitals, which will done on sooner the better policy.” Referring to the safety gears, he said, “All that has already been ordered and will take some time to reach us.”
To treat the patients infected with ‘Nipah’ virus, protective equipment such as the Positive Air Pressure Respirators (PAPR) are needed. The PAPR are long-sleeved, double puncture-resistant gloves taped to overalls.
It consist of a respirator in the form of a hood, or full-face mask, which takes ambient air that is contaminated with one or more type of pollutant or pathogen, actively removes (filters) a sufficient proportion of these hazards, and then delivers the clean air.
Protection against Nipah
Isolation is the only care for ‘Nipah’ Virus (NiV) affected patients since infection with Nipah virus is associated with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). There are currently no drugs or vaccines specific for NiV infection. Intensive supportive care is recommended to treat severe respiratory and neurologic complications.
Govt releases advisory to set up isolation wards
Doctors and other medical staff, who come in close contact with patients, are also vulnerable to the virus, which was demonstrated by the death of a nurse in Kerala.
Taking the example of Kerala state, the Maharashtra government have released an advisory that directs hospitals to set up isolation wards.
All private and government hospitals, ZP CEOs, Municipal Commissioners, district surgeons have been intimated to take preventive measures, said an official.
Member of infectious diseases controlling committee Dr Om Shrivastava said, “ The prevention measures are, avoid close (unprotected) physical contact with infected people and wear NH95-grade and higher masks, avoid consuming partly eaten fruits or unpasteurised fruit juices.”
He also said, “Avoid loitering around animal pens and thoroughly wash and peel fruits before consuming, maintain personal hygiene and cover your households properly.”
The state health minister Dr Deepak Sawant said, “ No patient affected by Nipah virus which attacked people in Kerala is found in Maharashtra. Still, if any symptoms of this ailment are observed, the patients should immediately contact the doctors.”
The Nipah virus is transmitted mainly from animals. The natural hosts of this virus are fruit bats, which may infect an intermediary that could be a plant, or an animal, consumption of such spreads the disease among the humans. This disease can affect those attending the patients including the health workers, and relatives’ etc. Therefore, such patients are to be kept in isolation.