PATNA, JANUARY 27: Bihar on Monday reported its first suspected case of rapidly spreading novel coronavirus as it isolated a 29-year-old research scholar, who came home from China’s Tianjin last week, health officials said.
The woman, who was reluctant to be admitted to the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) in the state’s capital on Monday morning, has been kept under observation for suspected Coronavirus, which has killed at least 80 people in China and infected thousands across the globe.
Arrangements had been made to send her blood serum sample to National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, for tests, said state health officials.
The daughter of a Government High School Principal in Chapra, a Ph. D student of neuroscience at Tianjin, had flown into Kolkata from China on January 22 and reached home in Chapra a day after.
A couple of days later, she reported mild fever with cold and cough. Her sister in Pune, who got to know about the woman’s condition, alerted the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare through its helpline number.
She was initially admitted at the Saran Sadar Hospital on Sunday evening and subsequently referred to the PMCH on Monday morning, officials said.
“The woman was kept in the isolation ward of the Saran Sadar Hospital last evening before being referred to the PMCH this morning. The patient and her family members were very reluctant to go, but we decided not to take any chances,” said Saran civil surgeon Dr Madhveshwar Jha.
The woman claimed, while speaking to reporters, that she was fine and had a body temperature of 97-98 degree Fahrenheit. She also accused officials of forcibly getting her to the hospital.
PMCH Superintendent Dr Bimal Karak said the woman has been kept on conservative treatment.
“We are administering her normal saline and analgesic for pain, if any, which may develop with fever,” Dr Karak said.
“Our emergency has been put on high alert and the patient has been kept in an isolation ward on the first floor of our emergency after she was brought to our hospital around 10 a.m. today,” he added.
Bihar does not have the facility to conduct a test for coronavirus.
“We will send the patient’s blood serum sample to NIV-Pune for tests today. All viruses cannot be tested at our laboratories. Till such time we get the test report, the patient has been admitted to the isolation ward created at the PMCH and kept under observation,” Bihar’s Principal Secretary for health, Sanjay Kumar, said.
Kumar added that directions were given to conduct a screening of all the family members of the patient. He also said the state health machinery had been geared up for detection and subsequent containment of the disease.
Patna Civil Surgeon Dr Raj Kishore Choudhary said there was nothing to panic as it was very common for one to develop cold and cough in winter.