Nipah fear is now a social problem; health workers ostracised, crematorium staff shun victims of virus

Nipah fear is now a social problem; health workers ostracised, crematorium staff shun victims of virusWith the toll from Nipah virus mounting, fear psychosis has started gripping people with reports of nurses being ostracized and staff at a crematorium allegedly showing reluctance to cremate the body of a victim who fell prey to the deadly virus.

Highlights

  • When nurses from Perambra taluk hospital in Kozhikode entered a bus, the rest of the passengers protested and got off the vehicle
  • Nadakkavu police on Thursday registered a case against two workers of Mavoor Road Crematorium, who allegedly showed reluctance to cremate the body of one Ashokan

People stick to health norms to bury Nipah victim V Moosa’s body at Kannamparamba Masjid in Kozhikode on ThursdayKOZHIKODE/KOCHI: With the toll from Nipah virus mounting, fear psychosis has started gripping people with reports of nurses being ostracized and staff at a crematorium allegedly showing reluctance to cremate the body of a victim who fell prey to the deadly virus.
On Wednesday, when nurses from Perambra taluk hospital in Kozhikode entered a bus, the rest of the passengers protested and got off the vehicle. Even rickshaw drivers are refusing to take them. In another case, Nadakkavu police on Thursday registered a case against two workers of Mavoor Road Crematorium, who allegedly showed reluctance to cremate the body of one Ashokan.
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Staff in the hospitals that treated Nipah patients and people who are in contact with the patients are being isolated. Besides, many of the hospitals in Kozhikode treating confirmed Nipah patients or suspected cases said that there is a drop in the patient inflow. “People are scared and are reacting due to fear,” said Kozhikode district medical officer Dr Jayasree Vasudevan, highlighting the need for awareness campaigns.
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Sociologists said this reaction is out of fear and their immediate need to protect themselves and family from getting infected. “What is happening now is that with increased awareness, we are trying to avoid the people directly or indirectly associated with the problem. Lots of misinformation is circulating. Also, it is easier to avoid people than work on strengthening our immune system,” said sociologist Baby Shireen.

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