‘No treatment yet for MERS’

The BMC has received a second circular from the state health department with regards to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). However, the civic body was expecting a “treatment guideline” for the disease, which globally, since September 2012 till date, has claimed 45 lives of the 88 laboratory-confirmed cases.
Additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said, “We have received a circular, but it’s not a treatment guideline that we were expecting. The circular says there is no treatment available for the new virus as yet.”
A highly placed health department official informed that the circular also emphasises that it is a “worrisome” situation.
The civic body has notified all the hospitals regarding the circular. The circular mentions that the MERS-CoV has all the symptoms that were previously indicative of epidemic diseases like SARS and H1N1.
“There is no treatment as yet; all we know is that it has the same symptoms like SARS and H1N1 — which is respiratory infection — like running nose, congestion, cough, short breath, etc. So, we will be giving symptomatic treatment and supportive treatment. We will also vigilantly look for cases with travel history to Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia,” said Dr Mangla Gomare, epidemiologist, BMC.
The civic body has identified Kasturba Hospital, Chinchpokli for isolating patients suspected for MERS. The nasal or throat swabs of suspected patients will be sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune for testing, said civic officials.
WHO, indicating the diagnosis protocol, said, “Specimens from patients’ lower respiratory tracts should be obtained for diagnosis where possible. Clinicians are reminded that MERS-CoV infection should be considered even with atypical signs and symptoms, such as diarrhoea.”
When asked as to the precautionary measures being put in place to arrest the spread of MERS, authorities said they were still in the process of ascertaining the magnitude of the threat.

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