Wednesday, August 10, 2022

India’s first monkeypox case reported in Kerala

A man who travelled from the UAE has tested positive for monkeypox in Kerala, state Health Minister Veena George said Thursday. He landed at the Thiruvananthapuram airport and is “quite stable, with all vitals normal”, she told the news agency ANI.
“There is nothing to worry about or to be anxious about. All the steps are being taken and the patient is stable,” the minister said. His primary contacts have also been identified, including his father, mother, a taxi driver, an auto driver, and 11 fellow passengers from adjacent seats, she added.
The virus- usually found in Africa — causes fever symptoms besides distinctive bumpy rashes. The illness is usually manageable, though one of two strains is more dangerous. The Congo strain causes death in up to 10 per cent of the patients. The West African strain is milder, with a fatality rate of around 1 per cent.
It was first found in monkeys in 1958, hence the name. Rodents are now seen as the main source of transmission. It spreads through close contact, both from animals and, less commonly, between humans.

States asked to step up surveillance

The Union Health Ministry on Thursday asked states to increase surveillance on monkeypox, which has been reported in many countries across the world.
In a letter to the states and UTs, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reiterated that there should be a rigorous surveillance system at all points of entry to quickly identify and isolate suspected cases.
“Continued expansion of spread of monkeypox disease globally calls for proactive strengthening and operationalisation of requisite public health actions for preparedness and response against the disease in lndia also,” he wrote.
The Centre, in the letter, has said that orientation and regular re-orientation of all key stakeholders including health screening teams at points of entry, disease surveillance teams, and doctors working in hospitals about common signs and symptoms, differential diagnosis, case definitions for suspects, probable or confirmed cases should be carried out.
It has asked states to screen and test all suspect cases either through hospital-based surveillance or targeted surveillance under measles surveillance or intervention sites identified by the National AIDS Control Organisation for MSM (men having sex with men) and FSW (female sex worker) population groups.
“Patient isolation (until all lesions have resolved and scabs have completely fallen off), protection of ulcers, symptomatic and supportive therapies, continued monitoring and timely treatment of complications remain the key measures to prevent mortality,” Bhushan said in the letter.
Intensive risk communication directed at healthcare workers, identified sites in health facilities (such as skin, paediatric OPDS, immunisation clinics, intervention sites identified by NACO, etc.) as well as the general public about simple preventive strategies and the need for prompt reporting of cases needs to be undertaken, he underlined.
“Hospitals must be identified and adequate human resource and logistic support should be ensured at identified hospitals equipped to manage suspected cases of monkeypox,” he added.
He noted that as per World Health Organisation (WHO), from January 1 to June 22, a total of 3,413 laboratory confirmed cases of monkeypox and one death have been reported from 50 countries and territories.
Majority of these cases have been reported from the European Region (86 per cent) and the Americas (11 per cent). This points to a slow but sustained increase in spread of cases globally, said the Health Ministry.

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