Awareness needs to be created to dispel fears about Nipah virus

Another aspect of the Nipah outbreak is coming to light, and a rather unfortunate one at that.

Yesterday, the TOI Kozhikode edition reported that health workers are facing social ostracism 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.

Doctors and nurses work tirelessly and with devotion for their patients, whose interests and welfare are above all for doctors and nurses.

Doctors and nurses are doing their duty to care for the affected patients without concern for their own personal safety. Nipah is a potentially life-threatening illness. A nurse passed away days after she acquired the infection as she was part of the team that treated the first victim of the Nipah virus.

Such dedicated service should be recognized, respected and accorded a national honor. This would have surely merited an honor if it were the military personnel.

This social ostracism indicates the extent of fear and panic amongst the public and also highlights the need to create awareness about the disease in question. The public should not react in such a manner. More importantly, the media should not overplay such stories. They should instead run awareness campaigns to dispel various fears and doubts among the public.

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