The health department is planning to augment four extra isolation beds in government hospitals in north Bengal, in view of the monkeypox cases reported in the country. All government-run hospitals had made arrangements of isolation wards during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have a sufficient number of isolation beds in all the hospitals. As part of the preparations to tackle any case of the monkeypox disease, we are planning to add four extra isolation beds in all the hospitals,” said the officer on special duty for public health in north Bengal, Dr Susanta Kumar Roy.
The state health department has asked district chief medical officers of health (CMOH) and the superintendents of medical colleges on the preparedness issue, issuing an order on 2 August.
The department has asked medical colleges to make arrangements of isolation beds for suspected/confirmed cases and that there should be isolated for a few suspected cases in at least one hospital in the district apart, from the medical college. It has also directed the microbiology department to remain ready for a collection of samples “as and when a suspected case is found.” “We are taking all the necessary steps.
Doctors, ANM, and ASHA workers have been sensitized,” said Darjeeling district CMOH Dr. Tulsi Pramanik. The World Health Organisation has declared that the global monkeypox outbreak is a “public health emergency of international concern.”
Its symptoms are similar to that of smallpox but much less severe. The country has reported nine confirmed monkeypox cases, including one death so far. According to the head of the department of microbiology at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, Prof. Arunava Sarkar, 15 virus research and diagnostic laboratories across the country had been designated for early detection of the virus, but only one institute-ICMR National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases had been authorized for Eastern India.
“We will send samples of the suspected monkeypox cases to the NICED. We will follow the protocol if a suspected case is found,” he said. The viral disease spreads via close contact and tends to cause flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions. Two swabs from each lesion (in general, 2-3 lesions should be sufficient) should be collected for testing.