The first case of the deadly corona virus reported from Nepal, has led to a scare in eastern Uttar Prdesh, particularly Gorakhpur, because of its proximity to Nepal and the heavy traffic flow across the porous border.
RN Singh, a doctor-campaigner for 'Mission Save in India', said, "The virus is deadly and has already claimed lives in many countries. A case has been reported from Nepal too. We share 1,751 km long open border with Nepal and checking virus only at the airport and not on borders will be an exercise in futility. Health check-posts should be established at entry points on the Indo-Nepal border to check the entry of virus in the country."
Checking for virus has already started at the airport, but open border between the two countries should also be monitored, he said.
Medical experts in the region feel that there is an urgent need to create awareness about the deadly virus in the area, especially in the rural interiors.
"When the symptoms appear, people believe that it is a flu which is normal thing in this season. It is only when the condition gets beyond repair that people come to the hospitals and by then, the patient is firmly in the grip of coronavirus," said M. M. Sahay, a local medical practitioner.
Gorakhpur, which is close to Indo-Nepal border, has a sizeable population that commutes daily to Nepal through Sunauli and Badhni borders. Steps have already been initiated for screening of the virus at the airport, but experts believe that health check-up along the open border is more important to check the entry of infection to India.
R. N. Singh further said that health check posts should be set up, along the Uttar Pradesh-Nepal border just like it had been done during the SARS epidemic in 2002.
The suspected case of corona virus who was admitted in SMS Hospital in Jaipur since Sunday 5 pm, is suffering from cough, cold, fever and Rhinitis. The report against the samples sent to National Virology Lab situated in Pune is expected on Monday evening or Tuesday morning.
"We are giving him symptomatic treatment as of now," confirmed Dr Pushpendra Bairwa serving the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in SMS hospital on Monday.
He said that the patient is 19-year-old and is a second year MBBS student in China. He came to India on January 12 with severe symptoms of the viral disease. "However, as we did not want to take any chances, we have admitted him in isolation ward and are giving him symptomatic treatment," he said.
The patient is a resident of Sanganer in Jaipur.
The doctor said that the symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to viral fever which include cough, cold, and then comes fever at a late stage due to pneumonia.
The incubation period for this virus is 3-14 days, he informed.
The medical superintendent Dr D.S. Meena was taking a detailed meeting in the hospital when IANS tried to contact him.
On Sunday, health minister Dr Raghu Sharma said that a total of 18 people from four districts of Rajasthan had returned to India from China and therefore the respective district chiefs and medical officers were directed to keep them under surveillance for 28 days.
Sharma had also urged the union health minister to make the screening facility available at the international terminals of airports in the country.
Mumbai man in hospital for possible exposure
In the fourth such incident in Mumbai, a 36-year-old man has been admitted in the isolation ward of a civic-run hospital on suspicion of possible exposure to the novel coronavirus, officials said on Monday.
The man, a resident of Tardeo in south Mumbai, is currently kept under observation at Kasturba Hospital in the city, they said.
Three persons were last week admitted in the hospital for possible exposure to the virus strain, after screening of passengers was done at the Mumbai international airport.
All the three were hospitalised as precaution, officials had said on January 25.
As of January 24, some 2,700 passengers had undergone thermal screening at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport here since January 19 after an outbreak of a new coronavirus was reported in China's Wuhan city.
No case of coronavirus infection has been found in Maharashtra yet.
The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus in China is a novel strain and not seen before. It has killed 26 people so far, and has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
with PTI and IANS inputs