Home/ News / India/  Govt directs screening of all international arrivals after India sees 2 monkeypox cases

NEW DELHI : The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare On Monday informed that they had conducted a screening for the viral Monkeypox on the incoming patients through international airports and sea ports. This comes as Kerala's Health Minister Veena George confirmed the second case of the viral disease in the southern state. 

Kerala reported the first Monkeypox case in a 31 year old man who returned from the UAE on 12 July. All his contacts were identified and 11 of his co-passengers, his family members, an auto-driver, a taxi driver and a dermatologist of a private hospital, where the infected person sought treatment first, are under observation.

On 18 July, George informed about the second confirmed case of Monkeypox in the state. The person landed at the Mangalore airport in coastal Karnataka from Dubai on 13 July. He was admitted to a hospital after he exhibited symptoms of the disease. His samples were sent to NIV Pune and they tested positive for monkeypox.

On Monday, 18 July, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed that they had reviewed the functioning of health screening of international travellers arriving in India at airports and seaports. 

The meeting was attended by Airport and Port Health Officers (APHOs/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 minimize the risk of importation of monkeypox cases into the country.

They were advised and re-oriented in clinical presentation of monkeypox disease as per MoHFW’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.

Meanwhile, Kerala's neighbouring states Tamil Nadu and Dakshin Kannada stepped up vigil as Kerala reported two new cases of Monkeypox virus. So far no other states have reported cases of the viral disease. 

According to World Health Organization (WHO), monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe.

Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus. It is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from two to four weeks, WHO said.

Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.

The symptoms include lesions that usually begin within 1-3 days of fever onset, lasting for around 2-4 weeks and are often described as painful until the healing phase when they become itchy (in the crust stage).

A notable predilection for palm and soles is characteristic of monkeypox, the guidelines stated.

According to the guidelines, contacts should be monitored at least daily for the onset of signs/symptoms for 21 days (as per case definition) from the last contact with a patient or their contaminated materials during the infectious period.

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Updated: 18 Jul 2022, 09:11 PM IST
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