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Kerala reports second monkeypox case, gears up for the next challenge

- July 18, 2022

Thiruvananthapuram, July 18 (BPNS)

The second monkeypox virus (MPV) case in the country has been reported from Kerala’s Kannur district on Monday. The state now has two MPV cases. The second case – a 31-year-old man – was returned from Dubai on July 13. At the same time, the state health department has started the process of specimen collection and testing for MPV within the state. The first such facility is expected to come up at ICMR-National Institute of Virology Field Unit, Allapuzzha. It is also learned that a surveillance and case management protocol for MPV will soon be released by the state.

“The patient is undergoing treatment at Pariyaram medical college hospital and his health condition is satisfactory. Those who had close contact with him were put under observation,” said Veena George, state health minister.

The minister also added that talks are on arranging an MPV testing facility in the state. In the first phase of MPV testing kits will be made available at NIV Alappuzha. It will be brought from NIV Pune.

“In the second phase, government labs that have RTPCT testing facilities will be made capable for MPV testing. There are 28 such labs,” added the minister.

Meanwhile, the central team headed by the adviser to the Union Ministry of Health P Raveendran expressed their satisfaction with the state’s response to MPV. The team which met the minister also briefed her on their three-day visit to the state.

‘Rigorous campaigns on the cards’

With two MPV cases in the state, the health department has decided to intensify its campaign to make the public aware of the disease, its transmission, its identification, and treatment.

“There is no need to panic. Because it’s the less severe West African clade that is being spread. The images of persons whose face/hands/legs are filled with lesions are mostly that of ones who got MPV’s Congo Basin clade. The one that has been reported from Kerala is the former. Severity and fatality are comparatively low in the West African clade cases,” said Dr Aravind R, head of the department, infectious disease department, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram.

According to him, in the current scenario, the probability of those having the disease will be among those returning from the countries that reported MPV.

“So the foreign returnees from high-risk countries will have to be watchful. So is the case with those who had close contact with them. It is highly recommended that the COVID appropriate behavior – washing one’s hands, use of sanitizer and others – will help to avoid MPV,” added Aravind.

Highlighting all these, the health department will join hands with the field staff and local body officials to reach out to the people to bust the myths. 

The state reported the first MPV case in the country on July 14.

MPV can cause a rash which may look like pimples or blisters, sometimes with a flu-like illness, those having the same should immediately seek medical care.

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. The incubation period (interval from infection to onset of symptoms) of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.

One may experience all or only a few of the symptoms of monkeypox. Some people have developed a rash before (or without) flu-like symptoms. The flu-like symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, sore throat, cough, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later.