[ Nellie N Manpoong ]
ITANAGAR, Feb 2: State Surveillance Officer (SSO) for the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, Dr L Jampa, dismissed misinformation surrounding the novel coronavirus (nCoV) and called for creating more awareness among the public.
Speaking to this daily, Dr Jampa said, “There are many rumours and misconceptions circulating, which is quite natural and expected. We need to create awareness.”
The SSO dismissed the bizarre claim circulating on social media platforms that the novel coronavirus can be cured by consuming ‘freshly boiled garlic water’.
The viral message on social media platforms provides a recipe for ‘garlic water’ and claims to ‘heal’ and show ‘overnight improvement’.
Regarding the availability of a vaccination for animals against the novel coronavirus, as claimed by a veterinarian, Dr Jampa informed that the health department “has not heard of any such vaccine.”
The union health & family welfare (HFW) ministry has advised the principal secretaries of all the states to generate awareness among the public and the medical professionals regarding the nCoV.
The HFW department had on 30 January stated that there is currently no specific treatment or vaccine available for the disease but it can be treated symptomatically.
The health department’s advisory also includes testing for the coronavirus if one has returned from China or any other foreign country after 15 January.
“It is a novel virus, meaning its characteristics are unknown. It is about prevention at this point,” Dr Jampa said, and advised people to maintain hygiene by washing hands regularly with soap; cover nose and mouth while sneezing; and immediately contact a doctor if one has cough, fever or difficulty breathing.
While properly cooked meat can be consumed, he advised avoiding wild meat for the time being.
Arunachal is not the only state where misinformation about the nCoV is being spread; there are many such claims across the country, and it is advisable to consult a doctor or a healthcare provider instead of attempting self-medication.
Meanwhile, India reported its second case of the novel coronavirus on Sunday in Kerala, again. A person, who has had a history of travelling to China, has tested positive. The first case of coronavirus in India was also detected in Kerala, where an Indian student of Wuhan University in China tested positive.
According to the union HFW ministry, the coronavirus has so far affected 14000 people and claimed more than 200 lives in China (as on 2 February, 2020). Exported cases have also been reported from around 23 countries, including the US, Japan, Australia, France, and Vietnam.
The World Health Organization has already declared the ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China as a public health emergency of international concern.
[ Nellie N Manpoong ]