Mumbai: BMC asks hospitals to send samples for RT-PCR tests, genome sequencing amid surge in illnesses in city

Health officers have been instructed to watch for ILI and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) patients in their wards.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Friday, September 02, 2022, 10:08 PM IST
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Mumbai: BMC asks hospitals to send samples for RT-PCR tests, genome sequencing amid surge in illnesses in city | (Photo by AFP)

Amid the surge in cases of swine flu and other illnesses, the civic body has once again instructed all its hospitals to send swab samples of patients having influenza-like illnesses (ILI) for RT-PCR, genome sequencing and swine flu testing. Health officers have been instructed to watch for ILI and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) patients in their wards.

Meanwhile, authorities have come across many patients exhibiting these symptoms, and most of them are testing positive for influenza A. Officials said there has been a surge in viral and monsoon-ailments which have most symptoms similar to Covid or swine flu because of keeping a close watch on all illnesses. Moreover, city doctors are also witnessing over 20 cases of ILI daily.

Additional municipal commissioner Dr Sanjeev Kumar said they have instructed all the hospitals and dispensaries to look out for ILI and SARI patients, and to also conduct RT-PCR tests on them. “We do not want to leave any loophole which will have a bad impact on the city considering there is a surge in cases. Moreover, ILI and SARI patients need to be watched closely, considering they can also spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” he said.

A senior doctor from a civic-run hospital said there has been a sudden surge in the number of people complaining of ILI and having symptoms such as cough, cold and sore throat. Moreover, on a daily basis, over 20–25 cases are being witnessed in the outpatient department, of which two to three are being admitted.

“Due to the change in weather, there has been a spurt in cases, but it is very difficult to identify whether the patient has contracted swine flu, Covid or viral flu. We ask them to undergo RT-PCR or swine fly testing to rule out any infections that may need immediate attention,” said a doctor.

BMC's executive health officer Dr Managala Gomare said they have been monitoring Covid cases and regularly chalking out strategies to deal with it depending on the trend. Health officials are also planning to screen the super spreaders because they will be coming in contact with many people or devotees during the ongoing festival. “We have instructed our ward health officers to take appropriate steps to sensitise devotees at pandals. Also, we would ask the organisers to announce the same at pandals,” she said.

The state public health department, meanwhile, is gearing up to ensure that there is no spike in cases of influenza and Covid post the 10-day celebration period, during which people would be out on the streets in large numbers. “The samples will also be sent for whole genome sequencing, which will help us know if the virus is mutating further or any new variants are coming up, which could prove to be more fatal,” said a health official.

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