Kozhikode: Nipah fever brought global attention to Kerala and the epicentre of the viral disease was this district in north Kerala. The disease claimed more than a dozen lives exactly a year ago, but its spread was fortunately checked with timely interventions by the authorities and the medical fraternity.
It was on May 18, 2018, Ajanya M, a second-year general nursing student at the Government General Hospital, was taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Government Medical College with symptoms related to Nipah when the dreaded disease raged here.
Exactly a year later, she recollects how dreadful those days at the hospital were but is grateful to the doctors, nurses and every staff member at the Kozhikode Medical College as well of the Chest Hospital as they helped her overcome the fear of the deadly virus even as her life could be saved.
Ajanya, daughter of Sreedharan and Vijitha, belongs to Cheliya area, near Koyilandy, in Kozhikode district and is reportedly one of the two lucky survivors of Nipah fever even though she had contracted its virus which eventually claimed the lives of 17 people, including one suspects case, in this part of the state.
On May 14, last year, after high temperature, she consulted the doctors at the Beach hospital (as the Government General Hospital is popularly known) where she was studying. When the medicines could not bring down the fever, she was advised bed rest and sent home. When the fever worsened she was taken to the Koyilandy taluk hospital and later referred to the Medical College.
“Soon after reaching the Medical College, I turned unconscious. I was told that I was shifted to the ICU and then to the isolation ward. There are only scant memories from the ICU. My father or mother used to attend when I needed them, and they also came inside in the special dress, covering the whole body. At the isolation ward, my parents stayed throughout with me. I could not recognise any of the nurses or staff who attended to me at the hospital. Later, at some functions, they came to me and told me that they were with me during those days,” Ajanya says.
She gained consciousness after a week at the hospital and by that time she was at the ICU of the Chest Hospital. After four days, she was shifted to the isolation ward. From May 29 to till her discharge day, June 11, she was there.
“It was only after getting shifted to the isolation ward, I came to read about the disease and how I was luckily saved. The most memorable moment would be the meeting with Health Minister KK Shailaja, who came to me, without any precautionary mask, a day before I was discharged. I was beaming with joy that I could not recollect then what we talked that day, but I am sure that gave me the confidence to walk back to normal life,” she says.
Ajanya resumed her nursing classes by mid of July, almost a month after getting discharged from hospital.
"The support of my friends and teachers helped me to get back to good health physically and emotionally," she recalls.
“A reception was organised for me at the college. Nobody tried to avoid me on the campus. In fact, their support helped me complete the lessons and I wish to complete my studies here and be like those brave nurses who successfully battled Nipah in Kozhikode,” Ajanya adds.