Covid patient No 61 may be Odisha’s super-spreader
Super Spreader term was first coined in South Korea, where a church going woman had transmitted her disease to several others.Updated: Apr 28, 2020 23:10 IST
With Odisha government on Tuesday releasing the infection-history of five Covid cases in Balasore district-- one of the three districts where cases are rising rapidly-- a 58-year-old man who had first tested positive 10 days ago, was being seen as the super-spreader in the state having infected 11 people so far, said health officials.
The man, tagged case no. 61 in state health department records since April 18, is a 58-year-old from Neliabag area in coastal Balasore town and runs a private technical school. While six of his contacts including his son-in-law, daughter and grandson tested positive last week, today five others in Neliabag area who came in contact with one of his family members tested positive, said officials. The Neliabag area has been declared a containment zone since April 19 after the man tested positive.
“Among the 118 persons who have tested positive so far, case no 61 has infected the most. Many of the persons he infected may not have known about the infection as they did not show any symptoms for more than 14 days,” said a health department official, requesting anonymity.
The term super-spreader was first-time used for Patient number 31 in South Korea, a 61-year-old woman who attended church while being infected and triggered a surge in infection.
Health department officials are amazed that the man transmitted the virus to only 11 people, considering that he had come in contact with 56 persons, a fortnight before he tested positive. “It’s quite possible that other people had more immunity and some of them may have been cured after mild infection. A detailed study would reveal it,” said the official.
Early this month, three brothers living in a housing complex in Bhubaneswar’s Bomikhal area had infected 15 people.
Apart from these individual super-spreaders, the migrants who returned from Bengal have proved to be an effective group of super spreaders. Of the 118 positive cases so far, 42 persons had returned from Bengal over last 10 days forcing the government to seal 50-odd routes connecting the neighbouring State.
The task of health officials in Odisha has been made difficult by cases that have remained asymptomatic for a long time, some even more than 14 days.
“In 90 per cent of the cases, the patients showed no symptoms. As this is a completely new virus of the coronavirus family and little is known about its physiology, social distancing and avoiding group gatherings effectively is the only way we can reduce the spread of the virus,” said Bijoy Mohapatra, director of health services.