In the wake of monkeypox cases reported from some countries, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has kept a separate 28-bed ward ready at the Kasturba Hospital for the isolation of suspected patients, officials said on Monday.
To date, there has been no report of any suspected or confirmed case of the viral zoonotic disease in Mumbai, according to officials of the corporation’s public health department.
The corporation said airport authorities were screening the passengers coming from endemic and non-endemic countries that reported outbreaks. “Their testing samples will be sent to the NIV (National Institute of Virology) Pune laboratory. All health facilities in Mumbai are being informed to notify and refer any suspected case to Kasturba Hospital,” read an advisory issued by the health department.
The World Health Organization has recorded more than 90 monkeypox cases in a dozen countries including Britain, Spain, Israel, France, Switzerland, the US and Australia.
Monkeypox typically causes fever, chills, rashes and lesions on the face or genitals. It can be spread through close contact with an infected person or their clothing or bedsheets, but sexual transmission has not yet been documented.
Most people recover from the disease within several weeks without requiring hospitalization. Vaccines against smallpox, a related disease, are also effective in preventing monkeypox and some antiviral drugs are being developed.
The disease can be fatal in about 10 per cent of infections, but no deaths have been reported during the current outbreak. The WHO called the outbreak “atypical” and said the fact that cases are being seen in so many different countries suggested the disease might have been silently spreading for some time.