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Amid a global health crisis, it’s vital to bolster your health insurance with super top-up plans

In late 2019 when the Coronavirus crisis gained its foothold across the world, little did we know that it would realign our healthcare priorities. The dramatic surge in cases unleashed a catastrophe on the healthcare sector that was ill-equipped to tackle a public emergency like this one. The access and delivery of medical services got severely affected, leading to an increase in costs for quality treatment. This growing uncertainty accelerated the need to bolster one’s physical and financial health and put the spotlight on health insurance. Many health insurance owners hence started looking for policies that came with higher sum insured and better benefits so that they don’t have to dig into their personal savings to meet the sky-rocketing healthcare costs in case their existing policy falls short. To safeguard oneself from such uncertainties, upgrading one’s existing health insurance might seem like a way ahead, but it could lead to a high premium cost. This is where super-top up health insurance plans come in as one of the most affordable and reliable ways to obtain optimum health coverage and financial security, especially during the current crisis. Understanding super top-up health insurance plans: Why do you need it? A health insurance super top-up is a policy that provides coverage for cumulative medical expenses incurred when the sum insured on your standard health policy gets exhausted or you have paid the costs up to the deductible on your own. Super top-up plans, as the word suggests, attaches benefits on top of your existing base policy. However, it is not mandatory to have a base policy to buy a super top-up cover. In order to claim the benefits of your super top-up policy, the deductible on your base policy has to be crossed, after which you are eligible to claim. For example, let’s assume that you have a sum insured of Rs 10 lakhs with Rs 3 lakhs deductible. In case of any hospitalization, if your bill/expense crosses Rs 3 lakhs, the super top-up policy will start to cover expenses incurred up to a sum of 10 lakhs. It is one of the most affordable ways to increase your health coverage, especially during this uncertain phase when hospitalization bills are running amok amid unexpected medical emergencies. Thus, a super top-up plan transforms into a backup plan designed to provide financial cushioning and can be particularly helpful when it is difficult to determine how much health insurance is adequate. A super top-up health cover is, in fact, an upgraded version of top-up health plans that rose to popularity a few years back. Top-up plans increase the base cover of the existing health insurance plans and provide coverage up to a deductible limit for every singular event that requires hospitalization. This means that your super top-up plan is better as it gets activated when your deductible is overshot during a single or multiple episodes of hospitalization, which usually happens during catastrophic events. Super top-ups go a step ahead by providing cover not only for standalone events but also for long-standing illnesses or situations where there are higher chances of the base policy getting exhausted due to multiple hospital treatments. They provide insurance buyers with future-proof solutions and this is why it is extremely important for people to consider various factors before choosing the premium that suits them the best. Let’s take a look at some of the factors why it is vital to strengthen your existing health insurance with super top-up plans, during the pandemic and beyond. Health insurance that is at par with one’s lifestyle While many financially stable people assume that having a basic health insurance plan is enough to take care of their emergency medical expenses, an existing health insurance plan might not offer adequate cover to get the best treatment you want. Depending on the lifestyle that you lead, you might have a preferred hospital in your mind and might want the best hospital room or bed facilities. If your health policy is insufficient, you will end up paying from your own pocket. Super top-up plans are useful in these cases as they bolster your health insurance based on your lifestyle requirements. Make sure that you consider factors like the average hospitalisation charges in the hospital of your choice; your age, medical history and hospitalization risk; the size of your family etc. before deciding on the sum insured for the super top-up plan. For 360-degree health protection that is not event-based The pandemic proved how uncertainties and risks are a part of our lives, and that it is only bound to increase with time. This is why many people bought contingency plans like Covid insurance to sail through financially during these unforeseen circumstances. However, after two subsequent Covid-19 waves and a third wave expected to hit us really soon, people are beginning to see how a contingency plan is only a short-term solution and health expenses can vary for different people during such times. Super top-up plans come across as handy solutions in this regard by providing financial support during medical emergencies of any kind by covering hospitalisation charges when you exhaust your base amount due to repeated claims. Super top-up plans also come with a deductible waiver for accidental claims, where insurance companies waive off the general exclusion of 'Deductible' in case of accidental hospitalisation, which is one of the biggest benefits of this policy. Affordable treatment amid rising medical costs A super top-up plan becomes a cost-effective solution to beat medical inflation and access the best of healthcare. These plans come with high deductible amounts at low premium costs, primarily owing to the deductible clause. Added to this, the premium that you will pay for a super top-up plan is eligible for tax deduction benefits under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act. Many insurance companies provide cashless claim benefits on super top-up plans and they come with different deductible limit options. Super top-up plans also come with a buyback policy after 4 years, which means if at the end of four consecutive and continuous hospitalization-free policy years, if the policyholder avails the option to buy back the deductible amount then no deductible shall apply on such renewal. Also, the base sum insured under the policy shall be the sum of the expiring policy's base sum insured and the expiring policy's deductible. Super top-up plans are available in two variants- as individual plans and family floater plans, so that insurance purchasers can decide on the sum insured depending on the needs of the whole family. Choose Benefits that compliment your policy and add value Amid uncertainties and rising medical treatment costs, a super top-up plan also offers 360-degree support. Unlike top-up policies that get activated on a per claim basis when the claim amount is more than the cover of your health insurance plan, super top-up plans give you the option to avail cover over multiple hospitalizations. This becomes particularly helpful while seeking treatment for long-term illnesses when the insured requires hospitalization on multiple occasions, with higher chances of the base policy getting expired. Many insurance providers offer additional cover that is over and above the basic hospitalisation benefits on the super top-up policy. For instance, Reliance Health Super Top Up covers everything from emergency treatment cover for inpatient, daycare and emergency treatment worldwide, to maternity cover including prenatal, postnatal and in-patient treatment (up to Rs 2 lakh). Reliance Health Super Top Up plan also covers Emergency Air Ambulance expenses of up to Rs 2 lakhs for a sum insured of Rs 10 lakh and Rs 5 lakhs for policies above Rs 10 lakhs. To add to this, super top-up plans like Reliance Health Super Top Up also cover the medical expenses incurred during hospitalisation for organ donation surgeries as well as alternative treatment options under AYUSH treatment. The super top-up plan also offers premium waivers on detection of critical illness, free health check-ups (at the end of three consecutive and continuous policy years); and deductive waivers for accidental claims among others. Again, there are no NCB deductions post claims on super top-up plans, which means that you’ll still get a no-claim bonus once you renew the policy.

17th September, 2021

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65% women in India are unaware of PCOS symptoms: OZiva survey

National September 17th, 2021: OZiva recently conducted a nationwide survey of women to mark the PCOS month. PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome affects 1 out of 5 Indian women and has developed into a leading cause of concern. The survey conducted with 2800 respondents across India went on to reveal that a significant 25% of the Indian female population didn’t know about PCOS or PCOD while 65% women were not aware of PCOS symptoms. Though a common condition, PCOS and its symptoms are not clearly understood and there are a lot of myths surrounding the condition as well. Key Findings of the Nationwide PCOS Survey 1. 35% of women have never spoken about their condition (PCOS) to anyone. 2. Almost 15% of women never want to talk about PCOS to anyone and more than 4.5% consider talking about PCOS a taboo. 3. Almost 48% of women find it uncomfortable speaking about PCOS with their spouses and have never done so. Most women prefer discussing this with their mothers. 4. Around 65% of women have been shamed or know someone who has been shamed for having PCOS or related symptoms (like facial hair, difficulty losing weight, difficulty conceiving etc.) 5. More than 60% of men don’t know what PCOS is. Speaking on the survey, Aarti Gill, Co-founder, OZiva, said, “As a woman myself, I can truly feel the struggles of Indian women when it comes to health issues such as PCOS. The first step to managing PCOS is awareness. With a clean, plant-based diet and holistic lifestyle the condition can be managed. Unfortunately there is lack of awareness, open conversation around PCOS and as the survey revealed unavailability of authentic information related to PCOS and its management. There has to be a change in perception about the condition and accessibility to authentic and reliable information about PCOS management. We want to create much needed awareness and encourage both men and women to speak about PCOS.” The survey also revealed some surprising facts like that 45% of people shared that there is no authentic information available on PCOS and related health concerns. Almost 50% of people, including women and men, also highlighted the fact that there is a need for brands to take up this cause and get more people to openly converse about PCOS. Adds Shikha Dwivedi, Nutritionist at OZiva, “The most important step is to create a two-way conversation around PCOS to normalise this commonly occurring condition which has previously been tabooed in most parts of our country. With clean holistic living that comprises a plant-based diet and a healthy lifestyle, PCOS and its symptoms can be managed. Over the past few years, we have helped more than thousands of women successfully manage symptoms like irregular periods, weight gain etc using clean, plant based nutrition and following a healthy lifestyle. Educating women and men about this can definitely improve the quality of living for PCOS warriors and help them overcome the fear of speaking up and getting help when needed.”

17th September, 2021

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Covid may infect a higher proportion of pregnant women: ICMR Study

A new study by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may infect a higher proportion of pregnant women, and when symptomatic, a large proportion can develop moderate-to-severe disease. The experts have recommended that pregnant women may be counselled for vaccination to reduce the adverse impact of Covid-19 on maternal health with Covid. In their first study large-scale report of systematically collected, multicentre data on the clinical presentation, pregnancy outcomes and maternal deaths amongst women with Covid-19 in Maharashtra, the experts observed that nearly 30 per cent of the symptomatic cases had moderate to a severe disease requiring ICU/HDU admission. “Almost 96 per cent of the ICU/HDU admissions were due to Covid-19 and only 4 per cent were due to non- Covid-19 causes. Thus, our analysis suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may infect a higher proportion of pregnant women,” said the study. It said that pregnant women with Covid-19 need “immediate medical attention” from the healthcare system in India. It also said that co-infections could be a greater threat to pregnant women with Covid-19 in the Indian context. The experts analysed data of 4203 women with Covid-19 for the study. The majority of pregnant and post-partum women with Covid-19 were recruited from the Mumbai metropolitan region (1684, 40%) followed by Vidarbha (1155, 27.5%), Pune (853, 20.3%), Marathwada (351, 8.4%) and Khandesh region (160, 3.8%). The experts analysed the majority of women (3441, 82%) aged 18-30 year, with 92 per cent of the women being in the third trimester and the median gestational age was 38 week. Out of 4203 women, 3865 were registered during their ongoing pregnancy and 338 were enrolled during the post-partum period. According to the study majority (3669, 87.3%) of the pregnant and post-partum women with Covid-19 were asymptomatic and only 534 (12.7%) women were symptomatic. The study found that pregnant and post-partum women above 30 years of age had “two times higher severity" of Covid-19 disease as compared to women aged less than 30 years of age. "The study demonstrates the adverse outcomes including severe Covid-19 disease, pregnancy loss and maternal death in women with COVID-19 in Maharashtra," it said. The study revealed that there were 3213 live births, 77 miscarriages and 834 undelivered pregnancies. The proportion of pregnancy/foetal loss including stillbirths was six per cent. Five hundred and thirty-four women (13%) were symptomatic, of which 382 (72%) had mild, 112 (21%) had moderate, and 40 (7.5%) had severe disease. The most common complication was preterm delivery (528, 16.3%) and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy (328, 10.1%). A total of 158 (3.8%) pregnant and post-partum women required intensive care, of which 152 (96%) were due to COVID-19 related complications. According to the experts higher Case Fatality Rate (CFR) was observed in Pune (9/853, 1.1%), Marathwada (4/351, 1.1%) regions as compared to Vidarbha (9/1155, 0.8%), Mumbai Metropolitan (11/1684, 0.7%), and Khandesh (1/160, 0.6%) regions. Comorbidities of anaemia, tuberculosis and diabetes mellitus were associated with maternal deaths. Among severe Covid-19 cases, the most common presenting symptoms were shortness of breath (34, 85%), dry cough (23, 57.5%) and fever (22, 55%).

17th September, 2021

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With 100+ shots per session, Maharashtra has zero vaccine wastage

Skillful and efficient administration of doses have helped Maharashtra achieve ‘negative vaccine wastage’, inoculating an average of 103 beneficiaries per session as against 92-96 last month. In September so far, an average of 7 lakh vaccine shots have been administered every day. ‘Negative vaccine wastage’ means zero wastage of doses by vaccinators. Manufacturers provide 11-12 doses in each vial as against the general perception of just 10. In case of negative wastage, vaccinators extract and administer extra doses from vials to cover more beneficiaries. Vaccination data showed that at least 16 districts have vaccinated an average of more than 100 beneficiaries per session so far pushing up the state’s average. Mumbai’s average has increased from 158 beneficiaries vaccinated per session to 172 now. Pune’s average was about 106 around August 23, which increased to 112 by September 13. Health department officials said vaccinating less than 100 beneficiaries on an average per session could lead to vaccine wastage and sub-optimal use of resources. Maharashtra’s net wastage for Covishield so far has been -1.77% and for Covaxin, 0.51%. The vaccination data was arrived at by dividing the number of beneficiaries vaccinated so far by the total number of sessions conducted till September 13. The numbers are, therefore, an indicator of how state has performed per vaccination session. Dr Rajshree Patil, medical officer at Pune’s Kamala Nehru Hospital, said: “Vaccinators are drawing more than 10 doses from each 10-dose vial, which depends on their skill and practice. Competent vial use during each vaccination session has helped push the number of beneficiaries to an average of 120 per session. Even if 10 vials are used per session, we end up vaccinating 110-120 beneficiaries as more than 10 doses are being drawn out per vial.” Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, assistant director (medical), Pune circle, told TOI: “The health department has been regularly telling low-performing districts to increase the number of beneficiaries vaccinated per session. The ministry had earlier also advised that each vaccination session should cater to at least 100 beneficiaries.” He said as per the original plan, districts were told to vaccinate a minimum of 100 beneficiaries per session. “However, several districts are now surpassing that number increasingly.” Deshmukh added that an increase in vaccine supplies over the last one month also helped boost the number of beneficiaries inoculated per session.

17th September, 2021

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Lethal D2 strain behind west UP deaths: ICMR

Lucknow: The virulent D2 strain of the dengue virus – known to cause fatal haemorrhage – has been the killer of elders and children in districts of western Uttar Pradesh, said Dr Balram Bhargava, Director-General, Indian Council of Medical Research on Thursday. Experts informed TOI that D2 strain of the dengue virus (serotype 2 or DENV-2) is known to be the most virulent strain and can cause severity in disease. Taking a question on the issue at the health briefing in New Delhi, Dr Bhargava said: “The D2 variant of dengue was behind the surge in fever cases and deaths in western UP districts of Firozabad, Agra, Mathura and Aligarh.” He added that the D2 strain was not only virulent but also fatal. At least 58 lives have been lost in Firozabad alone due to dengue in the past three weeks according to official data. Alarmed over the situation, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath sent high-level teams to the affected districts toinitiate control measures. Alongside, a team from ICMR and National Centre for Disease Control also visited the district to isolate the pathogen behind the fever cases and deaths. Earlier, member, NITI Aayog (health), Dr VK Paul had admitted that outbreaks of mosquito borne diseases had been reported in several parts of the country and it was important to stay alert against them Health sources also revealed that several cases of scrub typhus and leptospirosis were also reported. Mosquito surveillance reports showed that the administration failed to check the growth of mosquitoes in the region. Vector surveillance is based on several indices of which house and contain indices are popular ones. In the house indices, prevalence of mosquito larva or pupae in households is assessed, while in the container indices, percentage of water holding containers infested with large or pupae is tracked.

16th September, 2021

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Dengue stings harder; more patients in Pune require longer care

PUNE: A steep rise in dengue cases in the PMC areas has set alarm bells ringing in the health corridors, with questions being raised over civic preparedness and pre-monsoon measures. PMC data showed that 472 dengue cases were recorded in August and another 204 cases in September so far. The caseload has gone up to 2,076 so far — 1,803 from private hospitals and 273 cases from government-run sentinel centres. Narayan Peth resident Viraj Bhaskar Taware, who was diagnosed with dengue last month with his mother and one-and-a-half-year-old child, said, “My mother is yet to make full recovery... Civic staffers had found breeding spots of dengue larvae at the construction site of a redevelopment project in my area.” Choked nullahs and poor upkeep have led to mosquito menace in the Hadapsar area too, especially in the housing societies behind Vaibhav Theatre. In one such affected-society, 80-year-old Balawant Ranade, an advocate, has been fighting against the unsanitary conditions for the last five years. “We have to bear with the problem every monsoon. It worsens during the post-monsoon period in August and September,” Ranade, who stays in Samrat Garden Society behind Vaibhav theatre in Hadapsar, said. Barring a few swanky townships, there is complete disregard to garbage lifting and disposal in the Hadapsar area, he said. Santosh More of Balaji Paradise housing society said, “We are doing our bit to keep our premises clean. But what about the unlifted garbage and rainwater stagnation outside the society areas.” Family physician Pravin Darak, who practises in the Dhankawdi area, said, “Residents in the congested localities are increasingly getting detected with dengue. However, the illness is mild in most. I have only seen two cases of dengue shock syndrome, a severe type of dengue, which I eventually referred to the Bharati hospital for better care.” Family physician Santaji Kadam, who practises in the Karvenagar area, also admitted of a sharp rise in dengue cases in the last 15 days, with most cases coming from Warje, Shivane and the surrounding fringe areas. Experts said quite a few residents diagnosed with dengue were showing rapid downfall in platelet count reaching up to 10,000 per microlitre of blood. A normal person has a platelet count between 1,50,000 and 4,50,000 per microlitre of blood. About 80-90% of patients with dengue have levels below 1,00,000, while 10-20% of patients see critically low levels of 20,000 or less, the experts said, adding that only about 5% of dengue patients face complications like bleeding, requiring platelet transfusions. “Besides, 50% cases are showing dengue rashes, which was very uncommon till two years ago. Around two out of 10 cases are showing increased liver enzymes, causing signs of jaundice,” said senior family physician Avinash Bhondwe, who practises in the Shivajinagar area. City hospitals are seeing a rise in patients requiring long-term care. “I treated 59 patients at Sahyadri hospital’s Hadapsar branch in the last two months. Of them, 20 required hospitalisation. One of them also succumbed to dengue-linked complications,” said critical care expert Kapil Borawake. Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital’s chief intensivist Prasad Rajhans said, “There were two dengue-related casualties in our hospital. Most cases, however, are mild.” Civic health officials have stepped up action on establishments, mainly housing societies and bungalows, not taking measures to check mosquito breeding. “We have also scaled up the use of larvicides and fumigation to destroy the breeding spots and check adult mosquitoes,” said Sanjeev Wavre, head of the Pune Municipal Corporation’s insect control department.

16th September, 2021

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AIIMS Delhi develops mobile apps to deal with mental illness

New Delhi: The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi has developed two mobile apps for patients suffering from chronic mental illness and their caretakers. As the whole world is reeling under the Covid-19 pandemic, cases of anxiety and depression have gone up. AIIMS has developed two mobile apps to deal with severe mental illness for patients suffering from chronic mental illness and for those who got the first episode of such symptoms. The two apps - 'Shaksham' and 'Disha' - are for both who undergoes first such episode of symptoms and for those having severe mental illness. Mamta Sood, senior psychiatrist at AIIMS, told IANS, "We have developed two mobile apps -- Shaksham and Disha -- to deal with mental illness." She added that the Shaksham app is for those suffering from chronic mental illness, while the Disha app will benefit persons who undergo first such episode of symptoms. Both the apps have been developed in collaboration with the computer science departments of Indraprastha Institute of Technology, Delhi, and the University of Warwick, UK. The project was funded by the National Institute of Health Research, UK. "The apps will be available for free public use from January next year. We are more concerned about the patient data to be used in the apps and once the data restoration is secured, we will launch it by January next year," Sood said. "The apps will also send reminder to the care givers for medicines and other requirements of the patients," she added. Asked about the mental problems faced by people during the ongoing pandemic, Sood said that an AIIMS research conducted on healthcare workers has revealed that 50 per cent of the healthcare workforce are facing symptoms like anxiety, depression and stress. However, she added that having such symptoms and having the disease are different, as symptoms do not affect the patients, while disease affects all.

16th September, 2021

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Type 2 diabetes can be controlled through diet: Study

During a recent study, a research team found that people with Type 2 diabetes can effectively control it through diet and pharmacists are well-positioned to supervise the transition. The research from the University of British Columbia and England's Teesside University, published in Nature Communications, was part of a 12-week study involving a specialized diet that was managed by local pharmacists. Study participants, all living with Type 2 diabetes, were given a meal plan of low calorie, low carbohydrate, higher protein foods and they checked in regularly with their pharmacist who could monitor their medications. "Type 2 diabetes can be treated, and sometimes reversed, with dietary interventions," said study co-author Dr Jonathan Little. "However, we needed a strategy to help people implement these interventions while keeping an eye on their medication changes," added Dr Jonathan. Pharmacists are generally more accessible than a family doctor, says Little, noting that people with Type 2 diabetes often make more visits a year to their pharmacist than their doctor. This is especially true in rural areas. "Community pharmacists have expertise in medication management and can serve an important role in overall diabetes care," said Dr Jonathan, an associate professor in UBC Okanagan's School of Health and Exercise Sciences. "When Type 2 diabetes patients follow a very low-carbohydrate or low-calorie diet, there is a need to reduce or eliminate glucose-lowering medications. Community pharmacists are ideally positioned to safely and effectively deliver interventions targeted at reducing diabetes medications while promoting Type 2 diabetes remission," added Dr Jonathan. Half of the participants in the study followed the low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, higher-protein diet, checking regularly with their pharmacist. After 12 weeks, more than one-third of participants with Type 2 diabetes were off all diabetes medications, versus none in the control group. Dr Little also says the first group also noted substantial improvements to their glucose control, average body weight, systolic blood pressure and overall health. Co-investigator Dr Alan Batterham, professor in the School of Health and Life Sciences at Teesside University, at Teesside University, says the key was a targeted nutritional approach, supervised by a community pharmacist who can monitor prescribed medications. "The intervention was effective in reducing the need for glucose-lowering medications for many in our study," said Dr Batterham. "This indicates that community pharmacists are a viable and innovative option for implementing short-term nutritional interventions for people with Type 2 diabetes, particularly when medication management is a safety concern," concluded Dr Batterham.

15th September, 2021

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The Nipah scare: What went wrong in Kerala

New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram: The failure to identify the primary source of Nipah virus in Kerala has been the most glaring omission and is a must to prevent further episodes of the infection, say health experts. A zoonotic virus (transmitting from animal to humans), spread through contaminated food or directly between humans on exposure to secretions, Nipah has surfaced again in Kerala for the third time in a span of four years. So far, the "fruit bat" has only been identified as the animal host reservoir from which the virus can spread the disease to other animals like pigs, dogs, cats, and goats. The recent death of a 12-year-old boy in Kozhikode marks Nipah's third attack in the state. It was first confirmed in the Kerala district in May-June 2018 and claimed 17 lives. Fruit bats were suspected to have passed on the infection to the index case then, though no clear evidence was available. "The failure to identify the source of the virus in the primary case in 2018 was a major drawback. The fact that the disease has resurfaced around Kozhikode region points to the fact that the virus is still endemic to the region," Dr Kiran G Kulirankal, Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of General Medicine, Amrita Hospitals, Kochi, told IANS. Another sporadic case of Nipah resurfaced in June 2019 from Kochi, after about a year and at a geographically different location. Though the patient survived, the source of the infection was again not determined. It was estimated that bats were infected with the Nipah virus and that bat-to-bat transmission was fast. The bats are only carriers and hence do not die. It is only when transmission to human beings happens that the threat arises. "Lack of scientific proof of the primary source was glaring in both the episodes. When a similar epidemic in Malaysia occurred in 1998-1999, they could control the epidemic by determining that pigs were the intermediate host for Nipah, and large-scale culling and good animal farming practices prevented further occurrence," Dr Jitesh K., Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Meitra Hospital, Kozhikode, told IANS. "Kerala can prevent further episodes by having clarity on the animal source infection," he added. However, the risk this time is much higher, since the attack is amid a Covid surge in the state as well as the region. Can it surface as a co-infection? Experts suggest the possibility cannot be ignored. "The fact that the fatality rate for Covid 19 is between 1-2 per cent, while the fatality rate of Nipah varies between 40-75 per cent, is one to worry about. In a state already caught in a very serious battle against Covid 19, the outbreak came as a double blow," Kulirankal said. "Early isolation and testing is the key to containment of the disease. The chances of co-infection are rare but cannot be ruled out," he noted. The incubation period of the disease is 4 to 14 days and sometimes upto 60 days. The usual symptoms are fever, headache, sore throat, vomiting, and dizziness. As there is no cure or vaccine available till date, intensive supportive care is the mainstay treatment and only choice for treating severe respiratory or neurological complications, the doctors said. In the current case, nearly 140 high-risk contacts of the deceased young boy have tested negative. But nearby states have been put on high alert for the disease. "The fight is still not over. The threat of another outbreak cannot be ruled out as long as the source remains unknown," Kulirankal said. It is imperative for the state to "determine the source of Nipah whether it's a bat or some intermediate host like pigs or other wild animals", according to Jitesh. The state should also recognise that Nipah has become endemic, and all the breakouts happen mostly during May and December months so preventive activities should happen during these months, he added. Public must be aware against trespassing into bat habitats and avoid eating contaminated fruits or interacting with domestic animals without proper protection.

15th September, 2021

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