THE CIVIC chief of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Ajoy Mehta, directed the health department on Saturday to issue a notice against Dr Om Srivastava, the head of infectious diseases cell at Pedder Road’s Jaslok Hospital, for allegedly making comments about chikungunya to the media and ‘spreading panic’ among the public.
In a media report, Dr Srivastava had stated that certain patients at Kasturba Hospital had tested negative for the DNA Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, used as a diagnostic tool for chikungunya. He, however, added that this could indicate a different strain of virus which mimics chikungunya.
The civic chief issued the directions to the executive health officer, Padmaja Keskar, during the monthly meeting Saturday.
“Such comments can cause panic among people and he cannot speak for the entire city. There is a protocol in place and only an authority can make such declarations about diseases. As per the norms, we will send him a notice to inform him about the same,” said additional municipal commissioner Idzes Kundan.
When contacted, Dr Srivastava said, “In private and public hospitals, we are seeing patients with symptoms such as skin rashes, fever and joint pain. These are also symptoms of chikungunya, although the patients tested negative. These symptoms can be of any viral infection. I am only speaking about disease progression and treatment of viral infection, nothing more.”