A private hospital in Ghatkopar has reported a case of the rare hantavirus, an infection similar to leptospirosis.
A 39-year-old man from Kurla, who told doctors that he was bitten by a rat, was treated for the potentially deadly viral infection which is spread by mice and rats through urine, droppings and saliva.
Though the hospital said it had followed rules and notified the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) about the case, the civic body said no such case has been reported in Mumbai and the rest of India.
“We consulted the Bombay Veterinary College and they said no hantavirus case has been reported in Mumbai. It is zoonotic disease (passed from animals to man),” said Dr Mini Khetarpal, chief of BMC’s epidemiology cell.
She added that there has been no reported case of hantavirus ever.
However, there have been at least two cases reported in Mumbai -- in 2006 and 2010.
Ashok Yarpnoor had fever since June 27 and he consulted a doctor but his condition deteriorated. His wife, Mary, who is a nurse at Sapna Hospital in Ghatkopar, said: “A week later, I got him admitted to the hospital where I work.”
Ashok was initially admitted to the general ward but he developed breathlessness and low oxygen levels in the blood. “We had to shift him to the intensive care unit and put on non-invasive life-support system,” said Dr Pinkesh Chandra, general physician.
“As I suspected it to be hantavirus, I sent blood samples for testing and continued symptomatic treatment. This improved his condition,” said the doctor.
Yarpnoor was discharged after 10 days. “On July 17, I got the report, which confirmed my suspicion. The patient then told me that he had been bitten by a rat,” said Dr Chandra.
Doctors suspect that there could be more cases of hantavirus that have gone unreported or undiagnosed. “It is believed to be rare but the fact is we are not testing enough or accurately,” said Dr Om Srivastava, an infectious diseases expert.
Dr Chandra informed the BMC’s N Ward (Ghatkopar) office last week about the hantavirus case.