Lini Puthussery, the Kerala nurse who succumbed to the rare Nipah virus infection after caring for the first known casualty of the outbreak, was given a glowing tribute by the Director of the Health Workforce of World Health Organisation.
“Remember them, lest we forget: Razan al-Najjar (Gaza); Lini Puthussery (India); Salome Karwah (Liberia),” Jim Campbell said in his Twitter tribute while highlighting women’s role in global health.
— Jim Campbell (@JimC_HRH) June 2, 2018
Lini worked as a daily-wage nurse at the government taluk hospital in Perambra, 38 kilometres from Kozhikode. She passed away after coming in direct contact with Mohammad Sabith, believed to be the first victim of the Nipah virus outbreak that has so far claimed 16 lives in northern Kerala. She had been treating a family of three who had been diagnosed with the virus.
Sabith was treated for a while at the taluk hospital, where Lini worked, before he succumbed to the infection last month.
A couple of days after Sabith died, Lini started experiencing symptoms of fever and was first admitted to a private hospital in Kozhikode before she was shifted to the Medical College in the city.
Lini was kept in the isolation ward and buried soon after her death. To prevent further spread of the infection, her body was cremated in an electric crematorium immediately without handing it over to her family.
Aware about the seriousness of her illness, Lini had scribbled a touching last letter to her husband Sajeesh saying, “I am almost on the way. I do not think I can meet you. You should look after our children well.” The letter was widely shared on social media, with many hailing her sacrifice and calling her a hero.
Extending a helping hand to the family of the nurse Lini Puthussery, the Kerala government decided to give a government job to her husband and Rs 10 lakh each to two of their children.
Condoling the demise of Lini, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote on Facebook, “The loss of Lini, who had sacrificed her life for nursing a patient, is a grief for all of us. Lini’s sacrifice is incomparable. It is painful that Lini met with this tragedy while she was sincerely doing her duty. We, the people of the state, share the pain and loss of Lini’s family, friends and colleagues.”
The natural host of the Nipah virus (NiV) virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus. There is no vaccination for the virus which has a mortality rate of 70 per cent.