After a private hospital in Ghatkopar reported the first case of hantavirus in Mumbai since 2010, the BMC has moved swiftly to confirm presence of the virus and also take measures to prevent its spread. Public health workers have collected blood samples of the patient, who has now recovered, and sent them for testing.
The BMC said they have categorised the hantavirus incidence as a “suspected” case until tests are done at their molecular laboratory and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). “On Thursday we collected the blood samples of the patient again and it has been sent to the BMC’s molecular lab. On Friday, it will be despatched to NIV in Pune,” said chief of epidemiology, Dr Mini Khetarpal.
Anand Yarpnoo, 39, the Kurla resident who was treated for hantavirus had symptoms of leptospirosis. But when he was tested for leptospirosis, dengue and malaria, the reports were negative. Yarpnoor’s doctor suspected it to be hantavirus and sent blood samples for testing, but continued symptomatic treatment. He recovered and was sent home on July 13. But the blood sample report indicated he had hantavirus.
Dr Khetarpal said the test done by the lab was serum IgM positive and not IgG. IgG and IgM are short for immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin M. “IgM indicates acute infection while IgG can trace an old infection. But in the given case, the patient has been cured for more than two weeks so it is difficult to say if it can be ascertained at all,” said Dr Shahid Barmare, consultant physician, Kohinoor Hospital, Kurla.
“Theoretically it is possible that IgG can be found out doing certain high end tests. But in this case, it can turn either way given the long gap,” said Dr Om Srivastava, infectious diseseas expert, Jaslok Hospital.