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Business News/ News / India/  Monkeypox in India: Here's all you need to know about the virus and the measures taken
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Monkeypox in India: Here's all you need to know about the virus and the measures taken

On 17 July, a suspected case of Monkeypox was reported in Andhra Pradesh's Vijayawada in a child who recently returned from Saudi Arabia. However, the blood samples of the child tested negative, said Superintendent GGH Hospital Nageshwara Rao

(FILES) In this file handout photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention taken in 1997 during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), depicts the dorsal surfaces of a monkeypox case in a patient who was displaying the appearance of the characteristic rash during its recuperative stage.  (AFP)Premium
(FILES) In this file handout photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention taken in 1997 during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), depicts the dorsal surfaces of a monkeypox case in a patient who was displaying the appearance of the characteristic rash during its recuperative stage.  (AFP)

With over 6,000 cases across 60 countries and 3 deaths, Monkeypox reported its first case in India on 14 July, 2022.

A 35 year-old Keralite who returned from the UAE tested positive for the virus. India on Thursday reported its first case of monkeypox in Kerala. The infected person, a man, returned to the state from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) four days ago and was hospitalised after showing signs of the virus, Kerala health minister Veena George confirmed.

On 17 July, a suspected case of Monkeypox was reported in Andhra Pradesh's Vijayawada in a child who recently returned from Saudi Arabia. However, the blood samples of the child tested negative, said Superintendent GGH Hospital Nageshwara Rao.

Also Read: More COVID, monkeypox-like pandemic likely in future: WHO warns of 60% rise in animals-to-humans diseases

Indian government on Monkeypox

After the first confirmed case, the Indian government deployed a multi-disciplinary team to the southern state to tackle the outbreak.

Also Read: Got rashes? How do you know it's Monkeypox, not something else?

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) trained 15 research and diagnostic laboratories across the country for early detection of the virus. “To help country's preparedness for Monkey Pox detection, 15 Virus Research & Diagnostic Laboratories across the country, which are geographically well distributed & strategically located, have already been trained in the diagnostic test by ICMR -NIV, Pune," the ICMR said on Twitter.

The Health Ministry on 15 July issued guidelines for the management of the disease after the first monkeypox case was detected.

As per the ministry's guidelines, international passengers should avoid close contact with sick people, contact with dead or live wild animals and others.

It also advised the international travellers from eating or preparing meat from wild game (bushmeat) or using products (creams, lotions, powders) derived from wild animals from Africa.

Apart from this, International passengers should also avoid contact with contaminated materials used by sick people such as clothing, bedding or materials used in healthcare settings, or that came into contact with infected animals, said the ministry's guidelines.

In addition, if people develop symptoms suggestive of monkeypox like fever and skin rash and were in an area where monkeypox has been reported or had come in contact with a person who might have monkeypox are advised to immediately consult the nearest health facility.

Monkeypox guidelines by Health Ministry
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Monkeypox guidelines by Health Ministry

Steps taken by Kerala government:

Apart from this, Kerala too stepped up vigil to prevent the spread of monkeypox, issuing special alerts to five districts – Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kottayam. The state also intensified surveillance at airports.

State Health Minister Veena George on 17 July said that the Health Department is observing those with chicken pox or similar symptoms in order to ensure that they do not have monkeypox. 

She said random samples would be tested to ascertain whether anyone else was infected. 

She said training for monkeypox prevention is being held in a comprehensive manner and till now over 1,200 health workers have been trained. 

"The health condition of the patient who was confirmed with the infection is stable. No one else has been diagnosed with the disease yet. All his contacts are under observation. The Health Department is constantly in touch with his contacts and speaks to them twice a day over phone to enquire about their mental and physical health," the Minister said.

Monkeypox symptoms: 

Most monkeypox patients experience only fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. People with more serious illness may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body.

Also Read: What monkeypox alarm tells us about global health inequality

It starts with what we call macules. These are just red areas. Then it progresses to papules. This is something you can feel, World Health Organization's (WHO) Dr Rosamund Lewis said, as reported by BBC.

Those red lumps and bumps then start to blister, and fill with a whitish fluid. In time, they start drying out and scab over. Eventually, the scabs will heal and drop off.

A monkeypox rash usually starts on the face - sometimes in the mouth too - and then the arms and legs, hands and feet, as well as the trunk of the body.

Earlier, on 15 July, AIIMS' Department of Medicine Additional Professor Piyush Ranjan assured that there is no reason to worry, but he cautioned that monkeypox can be fatal for children as compared to the covid virus. "No reason to worry as the monkeypox virus's infectivity is very less though it can be fatal for children as compared to the covid virus," ANI quoted Piyush Ranjan as saying. 

Elaborating on the symptoms, Dr. Ranjan said that monkeypox symptoms are like smallpox and chickenpox. "At the onset, patients will have fever, and enlargement of lymph nodes. After 1-5 days, they may report rashes on the face, palms & soles. They may have rashes in the cornea leading to blindness," he added.

Though, the World Health Network (WHN) announced monkeypox outbreak a pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that it will hold an emergency meeting next week to assess if monkeypox should be declared a global emergency. 

Last month, the agency said the outbreak did not yet warrant the declaration but said it would review issues such as the possibility that monkeypox might be infecting more vulnerable populations like children, and whether the virus is causing more severe disease.

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Published: 18 Jul 2022, 12:56 PM IST
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