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Kerala man, who had tested positive for monkeypox in another country, died in Thrissur on Saturday. This would be India’s first monkeypox death and the fourth one outside Africa.  As per reports, the youth had landed in Kerala on July 22 from the United Arab Emirates.

Following the incident, Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Sunday said, “A high-level inquiry will be conducted into the death of a person with symptoms of monkeypox in Chavakkad Kuranjiyur. The result of the test conducted in a foreign country was positive. He sought treatment in Thrissur."

She further added, “Delay in seeking treatment will be investigated. The health department called a meeting in Punnayur regarding the death of a young man due to monkeypox. A contact list and route map of the deceased youth were prepared."

So far, India has reported as many as 5 monkeypox cases, of which 3 are from Kerala. 

The global monkeypox outbreak has seen more than 21,00 cases in nearly 80 countries since May. There have been 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo, where a more lethal form of monkeypox is spreading than in the West. Apart from that, Spain and Brazil have reported deaths related to monkeypox.

Monkeypox a global health emergency

Last week, the World Health Organisation had declared monkeypox a global public health emergency and called on nations to work closely with communities of men who have sex with men and adopt measures that protect the health, human rights, and dignity of affected communities.

“We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly, through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little, and which meets the criteria in the International Health Regulations... For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said.

Ghebreyesus had said though he is declaring a public health emergency of international concern, “for the moment this is an outbreak that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners".

“That means that this is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups. It’s therefore essential that all countries work closely with communities of men who have sex with men, to design and deliver effective information and services, and to adopt measures that protect the health, human rights and dignity of affected communities," the WHO Chief had said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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