Kerala: First monkeypox case detected in India discharged

Test tubes labelled “Monkeypox virus positive and negative”

Test tubes labelled “Monkeypox virus positive and negative” | Photo Credit: Dado Ruvic

The very first monkeypox case confirmed in the country in Kerala, and who had been undergoing treatment at the Government Medical College hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, was discharged on Saturday, an official statement issued by the Health department said here.

Healed completely

As this is the first case to be reported and treated in the country, according to the directives from the National Institute of Virology, Pune, his clinical samples had been tested for the monkeypox virus twice, in a space of 72 hours . All his samples tested negative for the virus. The patient is healthy, physically and mentally, and the lesions on his skin have also healed completely, deeming him fit for discharge, the official statement said.

The 35-year-old male and a native of Kollam district, had arrived in the State from UAE on July 12 and had sought medical treatment the same day as a close contact of his in UAE had tested positive for monkeypox. Following that, he was confirmed to have contracted monkeypox on July 14, and had been under isolation and care at Thiruvananthapuram MCH since then.

Health workers checking passengers for symptoms of monkeypox at the Chennai International Airport

Health workers checking passengers for symptoms of monkeypox at the Chennai International Airport | Photo Credit: VELANKANNI RAJ

As soon as he tested positive, his close contacts in the family as well as several co-passengers on his flight from UAE and the taxi and autorickshaw drivers who had transported him from the airport and to the hospital, who were considered to be primary contacts, were put under a 21-day surveillance of the Health department. They were not quarantined, but were instructed to follow the guidelines issued by the Health department strictly.

Both close contacts of the patient had since tested negative.

State health department’s expertise

Public health experts had made it clear right from the beginning that though monkeypox has the potential to spread through aerosol transmission of nasal secretions, it was not as contagious as COVID-19. The disease essentially spreads through very close, skin-to-skin contact.

The Health department had sprung into action as soon as the first case was picked up. All districts were asked to augment surveillance for all fever cases with rashes and send random samples of cases resembling chicken pox to test for monkeypox.

Strong surveillance

The surveillance system was effective and two more cases, who were also international passengers from UAE, were picked up in the next few days.

Both these patients — at Government Medical Colleges at Pariyaram in Kannur district and at Manjeri in Malappuram district — are recovering well, the Health department said.

The surveillance continues to be on full alert, and the Health department’s awareness creation programmes for the public, special groups at high risk and training for doctors and healthcare workers are ongoing as well.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2022 11:24:12 am |