Kerala reports India’s 3rd monkeypox case

Updated on Jul 22, 2022 11:47 PM IST

The state started testing for monkeypox on Tuesday at the regional centre of NIV in Alapuzha after getting testing kits from the National Institute of Virology in Pune

All three cases are from Kerala, returnees from the UAE. (File image)
All three cases are from Kerala, returnees from the UAE. (File image)
By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala reported the country’s third case of zoonotic viral disease monkeypox on Friday after a resident of Malappuram who returned from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was found to be infected.

State health minister Veena George said the 35-year-old man returned to the country on July 6 and after three days, he developed a fever. The minister said he was rushed to Manjeri medical college hospital on July 15 after he showed symptoms and all his contacts were quarantined after he was found to be infected.

All three cases reported in the country currently are from Kerala — returnees from the UAE. George said the condition of all three patients was stable and no secondary infection was reported from the state. The first case was reported in Kollam and the second in Kannur district in north Kerala. After the first case, the Union health ministry rushed a team of experts to the state.

The state started testing for monkeypox on Tuesday at the regional centre of National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Alappuzha after getting testing kits from the NIV headquarters in Pune, George said.

The health department has set up screening desks in all four airports of the state and started monitoring passengers, especially those coming from the west Asian countries.

At least 1.8 million people from the state are presently in west Asian countries.

Experts said the monkeypox virus mutates quickly, but is treatable after closely observing symptoms. They said the infection starts with fever, headache and flu. As the infection turns acute, red lesions appear on the body that trigger itching similar to chicken pox. They said the incubation period of virus ranges from five to 21 days.

They said transmission happens only through close contact like touching or sharing a cloth, towel or bed sheets used by the infected as secretion from lesions carry high viral load. Sexual relations with the infected person will also transmit the virus and transmission can continue to happen till lesions heal and final stages of healing is critical for transmission like other pox diseases.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ramesh Babu is HT’s bureau chief in Kerala, with about three decades of experience in journalism.

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