With Mumbaiites at risk of contracting the Sars-like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) Corona virus, city doctors are clueless about which anti-viral medicines to prescribe for the infection.
Additional municipal commissioner (health) Manisha Mhaiskar said, “We are yet to receive treatment guidelines from the state or the central government. We have alerted public and private hospitals, especially those with patients who have recently travelled to areas where Mers cases have been reported.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, until Tuesday morning, 85 Mers cases with 45 deaths were reported across eight countries, with the highest incidence, 66, in Saudi Arabia.
Unlike H1N1 or swine flu, which was treated by administering Tamiflu medications, doctors said there are no specific medicines to treat the Mers virus.
“Doctors have administered Tamiflu to Mers patients, but the outcome is inconsistent. From cases across the globe, we can estimate that 70% of Mers patients will require a ventilator, and 40% of them could die,” said Dr Om Shrivastav, director, infectious disease control department, Jaslok Hospital, Peddar Road.
At present, there is no vaccine for the disease.
“From what we have read so far, deaths have been reported in the elderly population, and those suffering from other diseases. With the Haj pilgrimage, a large population will travel to the affected areas, which is a matter of concern,” said Dr Dhanashree Kelkar, consultant, Global Hospital, Parel.
The civic body has identified Kasturba Hospital, Mahalaxmi, for isolating Mers patients. Nasal or throat swabs of patients will be sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune, for testing. Meanwhile, private hospitals are also setting guidelines
.Doctors advise hand sanitisers to reduce risk of contracting the infection through touch.