By Shalini Bhardwaj
New Delhi [India], August 4 (ANI): The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi has tested 12 samples of suspected Monkeypox cases so far, said an official on Thursday.
The Virology Lab, AIIMS, Delhi is one of the 15 labs in the country that has been authorised by the Department of Health Research-Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Speaking to ANI, Dr Lalit Dar, Professor, Department of Microbiology, AIIMS said, "At the Virology Laboratory Department of Microbiology, we have received 12 samples from different states. We have also received samples from Delhi."
AIIMS, Delhi received samples from Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana so far.
Pertinent to mention, two samples of Delhi tested positive for Monkeypox and both the patients are admitted at LNJP hospital.
"Out of these 12 samples, who have tested positive and they are both from Delhi," Dr Dar said. He said some of the samples tested positive for chicken pox.
Notably, the patients who tested positive for Monkeypox in the AIIMS lab do not have any recent travel history abroad.
On the capacity of conducting tests, Dr Lalit said, "Right now we are getting a couple of samples on daily basis, which is not a large number. During COVID, the government augmented the RTPCR testing capacity. For Monkeypox, RTPCR is done. We have the capacity of conducting 400 samples a day depending on requirement and number of patients."
He further said, "So, far there is really more than enough capacity in the country to do the testing. 15 labs are already authorised by the Department of Health Research, ICMR for testing across the country."
The laboratory staff in AIIMS, Delhi has received training from ICMR-NIV Pune for conducting real-time RTPCR, biosafety measures, storage and transportation of samples, Dr Lalit said.
The results of testing for Monkeypox come in 24 hours.
"We are giving the report within 24 hours. We usually try to give it on the same day. Even if a sample arrives late in the evening, we still give the report within 24 hours," He said.
India has so far reported nine Monkeypox cases, of which five are from Kerala with a history of international travel and four from Delhi with no recent travel history.
A 31-year-old woman tested positive for Monkeypox in the national capital on Wednesday, taking India's tally to nine. This is the first case of the disease among women in India.
Earlier on Tuesday, another 35-year-old Nigerian man living in Delhi, with no recent travel history, tested positive for monkeypox. Both patients are admitted to Lok Nayak Jaiprakash hospital which comes under the government of Delhi.
In the wake of an increase in the number of Monkeypox cases in the country, isolation rooms have been made operational for the treatment of such infections in three central government hospitals, according to sources.
"The isolation rooms for the treatment of Monkeypox patients are operational in three major central government hospitals i.e Safdarjang hospital, RML hospital and Lady Hardinge hospital," official sources told ANI.
The Delhi Government issued the official statement on Tuesday on the preparation of isolation rooms in government and private hospitals. The 20 isolation rooms at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital, while 10 isolation rooms have been set up in Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital (GTB) hospital and 10 at Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital.
Notably, the Delhi government has also directed private hospitals to create isolation rooms for patients with Monkeypox cases. These three hospitals are Kailash Deepak hospital, East Delhi; MD City Hospital, North Delhi and Batra Hospital and Research Centre, Tughlakabad in South Delhi.
On Monday, the Joint Secretary in the Union Health Ministry wrote to Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman, Executive Director and IHR focal point in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), requesting him to intensify screening to ensure that persons exhibiting symptoms suggestive of Monkeypox disease are not allowed to board flights to India to minimize the risk of disease transmission.
In the wake of the rising cases of Monkeypox in the country, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday assured citizens not to panic and said that an awareness campaign is being run in collaboration with the state governments to prevent the spread of the infection. (ANI)