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Mumbai: Do you feel you might have monkeypox? Head to Kasturba

Updated on: 26 July,2022 07:45 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Suraj Pandey |

As more cases emerge in India, civic body prepares to tackle the viral disease, which is a milder version of smallpox, reserves 28 beds for isolation of suspected and confirmed cases

Mumbai: Do you feel you might have monkeypox? Head to Kasturba

BMC says a monkeypox test centre will soon be opened at Kasturba Hospital. Pic/Shadab Khan

With four confirmed monkeypox patients in two states and one suspected case in another, the BMC has started preparing to tackle the disease. The civic body has reserved 28 beds at Kasturba Hospital for isolation.

According to the WHO, “monkeypox is an illness caused by the monkeypox virus. It is a viral zoonotic infection that can spread from animals to humans. It can also spread from person to person”. In India, Kerala has reported three cases and Delhi one, while Telangana has sent a suspected patient’s sample to National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune for testing.

The infection spreads through skin contact, also sexual; through bedding, towels and clothes. “...the virus can spread through direct contact with the mouth, respiratory droplets and possibly through short-range aerosols,” as per the WHO.

BMC Executive Health Officer Dr Mangla Gomare said, “Monkeypox is the milder version of smallpox. We are prepared to deal with it. We have reserved 28 beds at Kasturba Hospital for isolation of suspected and confirmed patients. We have also asked all private practitioners to inform the BMC’s health department or refer patients to Kasturba hospital, if people with related symptoms visit them.” “If we get any suspicion about a patient, we will send the samples to the NIV, Pune for testing. Soon, the testing facility for monkeypox will be available in Kasturba, too.”

‘Make more smallpox vax’

Dr Ishwar Gilada of Organised Medicine Academic Guild (OMAG) said, “The government should label it as humanpox and declare it a sexually transmitted infection. There has been an exponential increase in monkeypox cases globally. The current outbreak everywhere is an STI in 100 per cent of the cases, with 99 per cent of them among men who have sex with men [MSM], and 1 per cent among female. 

There’s not a single case where the disease has transmitted through any other modes, like surface, droplets or aerosol. There are no parallels with COVID-19, hence mandating masks for prevention is not required. Involve the National AIDS Control Organisation for its prevention, control and management.”

Dr Gilada said, “We should also take steps to prevent stigma and discrimination against infected people. We should start production of the smallpox vaccine by reactivating our old smallpox vaccine units and encouraging new ones. The smallpox vaccine helps in both prevention and treatment.” The organisation has also written a letter to the prime minister, with the same suggestions.

However, the WHO has said that the virus is not a sexually transmitted infection. “Many diseases can be spread through sexual contact. You could get a cough or a cold through sexual contact, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a sexually transmitted disease,” Andy Seale, who advises the WHO on HIV, hepatitis and other sexually transmitted infections, was quoted as saying by CNBC earlier. Other health experts said more studies are needed on the matter. 

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