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UAE expat beats deadly bacterial infection after battling for life for 54 days

An Indian expatriate has beaten a rare and deadly bacterial infection after struggling between life and death for 54 days in a private hospital in the United Arab Emirates.

Nitesh Sadanand Madgaocar, a 42-year-old driver from the Indian state of Goa, was diagnosed with cepacia syndrome – a bacterial infection with a high mortality rate of 75 percent.

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Cepacia syndrome is a fatal condition affecting the respiratory system combined with multiple organ failures.

Presented with critical COVID-19 symptoms

A resident of the UAE for 27 years, Nitesh had returned to Abu Dhabi after a vacation in the last week of August. He developed fever and weakness while quarantining in his room in Musaffah.

On August 28, two days after the onset of fever, his condition worsened. Nitesh called up his employer, who took him to Burjeel Medical City, a quaternary care hospital at Mohammed Bin Zayed City in Musaffah.

At the emergency department, Nitesh reported having high fever, fatigue, pain in the joints, shortness of breath, and loss of smell and appetite.

Upon medical evaluation, he was found to be diabetic and had pneumonia. His inflammatory markers were high, and he had tachycardia (faster heart rates) and crepitation (explosive sounds) in both lungs.

He was immediately admitted to ICU as his oxygen saturation level was critically low. Put on high flow nasal oxygen, he was administered intravenous antibiotics by the doctors to treat pneumonia.

Initially, Nitesh had responded well to medicines and started showing signs of recovery. It had been a week, and the doctors were to shift him to room when his condition worsened again.

Nitesh developed a high fever and tachycardia and had to continue in the ICU for few more days.

Diagnosis of cepacia syndrome

Nitesh was shifted to room care on the second week of September as his condition improved following the treatment. While he was recuperating in the ward, abscesses started surfacing on his skin and joints. The first abscess had developed on the medial portion of his left knee, from which the doctors drained 90 ml of fluid.

Later, abscesses surfaced on different parts of Nitesh’s body, and he developed effusion in the left knee. His health started to deteriorate, and the inflammatory markers went up again. He developed acute respiratory distress, and there were multiple cavitary lesions and septic emboli (blood clots) in the lungs. He also developed abscesses in the liver in both the lobes. He deteriorated considerably and had to be shifted to ICU again.

The culture reports from multiple abscesses found a rare bacterium, ‘Burkholderia cepacia’, and he was diagnosed to be having a rare cepacia syndrome.

In the ICU for a month

Shifted to the ICU, a multi-disciplinary team of doctors analyzed his reports and health condition. Dr. Niyas Khalid, Specialist Internal Medicine at Burjeel Medical City, led the team of doctors with Dr. Georgey Koshy, the Medical Director of the hospital.

“The team designed the treatment protocol and administered Nitesh double IV antibiotics, along with inhalational and antifungal antibiotics and steroids. It took four weeks for him to get better,” said Dr. Niyas, who diagnosed the case.

After a few days in the ICU, Nitesh’s reports showed that his health had improved. The lesions in the lungs and abscesses in the liver had disappeared.

Speaking on the case, Dr. Koshy said: “Nitesh’s was a highly complicated case. Any delay in diagnosing the case would have cost a life. God has been great and kind to all of us. Nitesh recovered completely, and he is healthy and fit.”

Thankful to doctors

It took 54 days for Nitesh to beat the rare and deadly bacterial infection.

“I am grateful to God and the doctors at Burjeel Medical City for this second life. When I fell ill, I had hardly thought that it was so serious. By the time I reached the hospital, my health had deteriorated considerably. I would not have come back to life if the doctors had not treated me well. They are like God to me. My family and I will always remember them in our prayers for our lifetime,” said Nitesh.

It was a tough time for his family in India also. Nitesh had informed about his condition only to his wife. “She was scared and praying all the time for my recovery. I had asked her not to share the news with my mother as she would panic. So, my wife has to bear the pain all by herself,” said Nitesh, who has a four-year-old daughter.

Rare in immunocompetent individuals

It is not sure how had Nitesh contracted the disease. Cepacia syndrome usually affects immunocompromised individuals like those having cystic fibrosis.

However, Nitesh was lucky as he was immunocompetent and was not on any immune suppressant drugs or therapy, said Dr. Niyas, adding that proper diagnosis and effective treatment have saved his life.

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US: Bodies of two of three missing kids found in Minnesota lake

The bodies of two young children have been recovered from a Minnesota lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned.

Meanwhile, the father of the children died at a different location hours earlier, and their mother is missing. Names have not been released.

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The chain of events began Friday morning when the father was found dead at a mobile home park in the town of Maplewood, near Minneapolis. Police determined that the woman had left with the children, and a search began.

Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said the woman’s car was found near Vadnais Lake around 4 p.m. Friday. The shoes of the children were found on the shore.

A search of the lake found one child’s body Friday evening. A second body was found overnight. Searchers from several organizations were busy Saturday looking for the third, as well as the mother.

Authorities believe all three children were under the age of 5.

“There’s nothing more tragic than the loss of young children,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at a news conference on Friday. He called the deaths a “likely triple homicide.”

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

Several dozen Romanian and Bulgarian firefighters took up their posts in Greece on Saturday, the first members of a European force being deployed to the country to provide backup in case of major wildfires during the summer.

More than 200 firefighters and equipment from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland will be on standby during the hottest months of July and August in Greece, where a spate of wildfires caused devastation last summer.

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A group of 28 Romanian firefighters with eight vehicles, and 16 firefighters from Bulgaria with four vehicles, were the first to arrive for the two-month mission, financed and coordinated under the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

“We thank you very much for coming to help us during a difficult summer for our country, and for proving that European solidarity is not just theoretical, it’s real,” Greek Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said on Saturday as he welcomed the members of the Romanian mission in Athens.

“When things get tough, you will be side by side with our Greek firefighters so we can save lives and property.”

The Bulgarian firefighters have been stationed in Larissa, in central Greece.

Last summer’s wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in different parts of Greece as the country experienced its worst heatwave in 30 years.

Following sharp criticism of its response to the fires, the Greek government set up a new civil protection ministry and promised to boost firefighting capacities.

In Greece’s worst wildfire disaster, 102 people were killed when a blaze tore through the seaside town of Mati and nearby areas close to Athens during the summer of 2018.

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One killed, six injured in shootout between migrant groups in Serbia

One migrant was killed and at least six others, including a teenage girl, were injured Saturday in a shootout between migrant groups in Serbia near the Hungarian border, the state-run RTS television reported.

The 16-year-old girl sustained life threatening injuries in the incident that occurred in a forest in the outskirts of Subotica, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Belgrade, where the injured were hospitalized, RTS reported.

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Police, who made no immediate comment, blocked access to the forest where the incident took place, only around a kilometer from the Hungarian border.

Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin rushed to the scene.

The injured, aged between 20 and 30, have no documents, Subotica mayor Stevan Bakic told local media.

It is not known what triggered the incident, he added.

Local media reported that the shootout occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants most likely over human trafficking from the area to European Union member Hungary.

Serbia lies on the so-called Balkans route used by migrants heading towards Western Europe as they flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Although the route is nowhere as busy as it was during Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, tens of thousands of illegal migrants still cross the region annually.

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