Sunday, May 28, 2023

Delhi Government Makes Lok Nayak Hospital Nodal Centre For Monkeypox, Starts Doctors' Training

Delhi Government Makes Lok Nayak Hospital Nodal Centre For Monkeypox, Starts Doctors' Training

India reported its first case of monkeypox on Thursday in a Kerala resident who returned from the UAE.

Lesions on arm and torso of a Monkeypox patient AP photo

Two days after India reported the first Monkeypox case in Kerala, a senior official on Saturday said that the Delhi government has made Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital the nodal centre for management of the disease and has started training of the doctors there.  

Earlier, the LNJP Hospital was Delhi's nerve centre in the city's fight against Covid-19 pandemic since its outbreak in March 2020. It has 2,000 beds and it's the largest facility under the city government.

The official said, "India has reported the first case of monkeypox in Kerala. We are on alert and LNJP Hospital has been made the nodal centre for management of monkeypox cases if anything happens in future.

The official added that there is need to be "vigilant, but no need to panic".

India's first case of the rare viral disease has prompted the Union government to put together a high-level multi-disciplinary team to collaborate with state health authorities in instituting public health measures.  

"We have started training doctors and SOPs [standard operating procedures] being laid down for management of monkeypox, even though the experience of managing Covid-19 would surely help our team, as wearing of PPE kits and mask and other protocols are essentially same for this viral disease too," said the official cited above, who is also a senior doctor.

Sources told PTI that the authorities will also plan setting up of isolation facilities for confirmed and suspected cases.

"As of now, eight patients admitted, and all of them are stable," said the official when asked about number of people with the infection admitted in the LNJP.  

He added that the management of monkeypox would be similar to the way the hospital team managed the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before being reported in India, several cases of monkeypox were reported from the United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the US.  

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), monkeypox is a viral zoonosis —a virus transmitted to humans from animals— with symptoms similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe.  

With the eradication of smallpox in 1980 and subsequent cessation of smallpox vaccination, monkeypox has emerged as the most important orthopoxvirus for public health.

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 in monkeys kept for research. The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970. The disease occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.  

According to the WHO, monkeypox typically presents itself with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications.

The current monkeypox outbreak is unusual as infections are being reported outside of Africa where the infection is usually found. Most of the infections are reported in America and Europe. 

Two sex rave parties in Spain and Belgium likely led to this unusual outbreak, according to a leading adviser to the World Health Organization.

Dr David Heymann, who formerly headed WHO's emergencies department, described the current outbreak to AP in an interview as "a random event". He added that the leading theory to explain the spread of the disease was sexual transmission among gay and bisexual men at two raves. 

He said, "We know monkeypox can spread when there is close contact with the lesions of someone who is infected, and it looks like sexual contact has now amplified that transmission."

India's first case of monkeypox in Kerala was confirmed through the testing of the samples of the symptomatic person at the National Institute of Virology, Pune, according to Kerala's Health Minister Veena George.

It was reported on a day when the Union government had asked states to ensure screening and testing of all suspect cases at points of entry and in the community as part of India's preparedness against the infection  

George said at the time that all measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the infection and there was no cause for concern.  

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a statement too had said there was no cause for concern presently and said just like the spread of Covid-19 was checked, monkeypox too can be contained.  

In a recent advisory that came amid rise in such cases globally, the Union government asked the states and Union territories to identify hospitals and ensure adequate human resources and logistic support to manage any suspected or confirmed monkeypox case. 

(With PTI, AP inputs)