New Delhi: India on Monday (July 18, 2022) saw its second confirmed case of the monkeypox virus in a man from Kerala’s Kannur district.
The 31-year-old patient had landed at the Mangalore airport in coastal Karnataka from Dubai on July 13. He was admitted to a hospital after he exhibited symptoms of the disease. His samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, and they tested positive for the monkeypox disease.
Kerala Health Minister Veena George informed that those in close contact with him have been put under surveillance. Earlier on July 14, Kerala had also reported India’s first Monkeypox case, a person who has arrived in the state from the UAE.
Meanwhile, in view of the second monkeypox case in Kerala, the state governments in Telangana and Karnataka have said that they are on alert.
Telangana sets up special center, hospital for diagnosis of monkeypox cases
Telangana Health Minister T Harish Rao on Monday said that the state government is alert over monkeypox though no cases or even suspected cases have been reported in the state. Apart from setting up a special center for diagnosis at the state-run Gandhi Hospital, the Fever Hospital of the government has been designated as a nodal hospital for immediate treatment of suspected cases, he said.
He held a video conference with doctors of TVVP (Telangana Vaidya Vidhana Parishad) and others, an official release said.
The meeting was held to create awareness about the symptoms, tests, identification and treatment of monkeypox in view of cases being reported in the country, it said.
Talking about the arrangements to deal with monkeypox, he said RTPCR tests would be done in Gandhi hospital and that the samples would be sent to the lab in Pune for confirmation of the positive strain.
The minister suggested that all the doctors should enhance their awareness of the symptoms, tests, and treatment of monkeypox and explain it to the field-level staff.
“As soon as the suspected symptoms related to the virus are identified, samples should be collected from the victims and tests are done,” he said.
He also directed that the doctors should be alert about a possible rise in seasonal diseases in view of heavy rains lashing the state last week.
If necessary, the time allotted in government hospitals for treating outpatients should be increased to provide necessary medical services to the people.
Monkeypox fear haunts Karnataka
The authorities in Karnataka are also on high alert after a resident of Kannur, who landed at state’s Mangaluru International Airport of the Dakshina Kannada district, tested positive for the monkeypox virus.
Though experts say the spread of this disease is less, a ward with 10 beds in the Government Wenlock Hospital is being reserved for monkeypox patients in Mangaluru.
The authorities have swung into action and all passengers arriving from overseas are being screened and subjected to tests.
Monkeypox virus outbreak: Centre advises strict health screening of all international travellers
The Union Health Ministry on Monday reviewed the steps for health screening of international travellers arriving in Indiaat airports and ports after two cases of the monkeypox virus were reported in the country. Monday’s meeting was attended by airport and port health officers (APHOs and PHOs) and regional directors from regional offices of health and family welfare. They were advised to ensure strict health screening of all arriving international travellers which can minimise the risk of importation of monkeypox cases into the country, a health ministry statement said.
They were advised and re-oriented in the clinical presentation of monkeypox disease as per the ministry of health’s ‘Guidelines for Management of Monkeypox disease’.
They were also advised to coordinate with other stakeholder agencies like Immigration at international ports and airports to streamline health screening processes besides ensuring suitable linkages with hospital facilities earmarked to each port of entry for timely referral and isolation.
The meeting was attended by senior officials from International Health Division, and Disaster Management Cell.
The Union Health Ministry last week also rushed a high-level multi-disciplinary team to Kerala to assist the state health authorities in instituting public health measures after India’s confirmed case of monkeypox disease was detected in the Kollam district.
What is monkeypox virus?
Monkeypox, which was first discovered in 1958 in monkeys kept for research, is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox. The virus belongs to the family Poxviridae, which also includes the viruses causing smallpox and cowpox disease.
The first human case of monkeypox was reported in 1970 and the disease occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa.
What are symptoms of monkeypox disease?
The monkeypox virus typically presents itself with fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications. It is usually self-limiting with the symptoms lasting from two to four weeks and severe cases can also occur.
How does monkeypox virus spread?
Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus. It reportedly is spread by rodents such as rats, mice, and squirrels.
The monkeypox disease is transmitted through lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated materials such as bedding.
How are monkeypox cases treated?
Vaccines used during the smallpox eradication program also provided protection against monkeypox. Newer vaccines have been developed of which one has been approved for the prevention of the disease. An antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox.