Epidemics That Weren’t: How Countries Shut Down Recent Outbreaks

In the State of Kerala in southern India, Dr. Chandni Sajeevan, the head of unexpected emergency medicine at Kozhikode Governing administration Professional medical College or university clinic, led the reaction to an outbreak of Nipah, a virus carried by fruit bats, in 2018. Seventeen of the 18 people contaminated died, which include a younger trainee nurse who cared for the very first victims.

“It was something quite scary,” Dr. Chandni reported. The hospital team got a crash program in intensive infection management, dressing up in the “moon suits” that appeared so foreign in the pre-Covid era. Nurses were being distraught more than the loss of their colleague.

A few a long time later on, in 2021, Dr. Chandni and her team were being relieved when the bat breeding time passed with no infections. And then, in Might, deep into India’s terrible Covid wave, a 12-yr-old boy with a large fever was brought to a clinic by his mom and dad. That clinic was comprehensive, so he was sent to the subsequent, and then to a third, where he examined negative for Covid.

But an notify clinician found that the boy or girl experienced made encephalitis. He sent a sample to the national virology lab. It quickly confirmed that this was a new scenario of Nipah virus. By then, the child could have exposed many hundred people today, which include dozens of overall health workers.

The program Dr. Chandni and her colleagues experienced put in position immediately after the 2018 outbreak kicked into gear: isolation facilities, moon suits, screening everyone with a fever for Nipah as properly as Covid. She held each day information briefings to quell rumors and continue to keep the community on the lookout for people today who could be ill — and away from bats and their droppings, which litter coconut groves exactly where small children enjoy. Groups had been despatched out to capture bats for surveillance. Everybody who had been exposed to the sick boy was put into 21 times of quarantine.

“Everyone, ambulance motorists, elevator operators, stability guards — this time, they understood about Nipah and how to behave not to spread it,” she stated.