Outbreak of opposites: A tale of 2 geographies

In Bhubaneswar’s Bomikhal, the largest cluster in the State, the infection spread at a rapid rate from primary carriers to their close contacts.

Published: 16th April 2020 06:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th April 2020 09:38 AM   |  A+A-

Sanitary napkins being distributed by Commisionrate Police at containment zone of Surya Nagar in Bhubaneswar. (Photo | Biswanath Swain, EPS)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: The behaviour of SARS-Cov-2 continues to confound experts. While the majority of cases reported in Odisha are found to be asymptomatic, there are two glaring instances where the infection has gone in completely opposite ways.

In Bhubaneswar’s Bomikhal, the largest cluster in the State, the infection spread at a rapid rate from primary carriers to their close contacts. Bhadrak, on the other hand, has seen a totally opposite pattern. Of the three positive cases reported from the district, none of the direct or secondary contacts was found infected.

The first person to test positive in Bhadrak was a young chef who had returned from Dubai. He had 12 family contacts but since he was extremely disciplined and strictly followed quarantine, his direct association was limited to just one person. All his contacts have tested negative.

The subsequent two cases from the district were far more interesting. They were part of a nine-member group who had travelled to Agra, Delhi and Ajmer. None of them, however, had any link with Tablighi Jamaat. Only two of them tested positive when they came under the Government’s surveillance. The two youths had 32 family contacts and 47 other common contacts. All tested negative.

“They either contracted the virus from places of their visit or during the train travel,” said official sources. Of the 92 samples of family and other contacts in the three Bhadrak cases, none tested positive whereas in Bomikhal, it was completely opposite.

The Bomikhal cluster began with three siblings who had visited their father in Bhopal. Once the three tested positive, the entire housing apartment came under surveillance and so far, as many as 18 persons have tested positive. In fact, four others who tested positive at Satya Nagar are believed to be linked to Bomikhal too.

“It could be about virulence of SARS-Cov-2 in Indian conditions (or may be local conditions too) or an entire gamut of issues ranging from individual immunity as well as virus load shed by the carrier. It is complex but it is something that warrants study,” said sources in the Regional Medical Research Centre, an ICMR arm.

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