The 40-year-old man from Ghaziabad, admitted to Lok Nayak hospital on suspicions of having monkeypox, was discharged Thursday evening after he was found to be negative for the viral infection. His samples had been sent to the National Institute of Virology-Pune for testing.
He was diagnosed with a chickenpox infection. Doctors from the hospital Wednesday said the person was unlikely to have the infection as the lesions were different from what is seen in monkeypox. Furthermore, the man did not have any history of international travel in the last 21 days, which is considered to be monkeypox’s incubation period or the time it takes for symptoms to appear after infection.
The doctor who diagnosed the first case, Dr Richa Chaudhary, said the lesions for monkeypox were much bigger than those of chickenpox, they were found on the palms and soles of the feet unlike chickenpox. The lesions were also clustered in the genital area which does not happen with chickenpox, and the lesions were taking longer to heal, she said. The patient also reported the lesions to be painful whereas chickenpox lesions are usually itchy.
Only one person a 34-year-old resident of West Delhi continues to be in the isolation ward of Lok Nayak hospital after he tested positive for the infection on Sunday, despite having no history of travel. It was the first case of local transmission in India. So far, there have been four cases reported in the country – three from Kerala, all with a history of international travel and one from Delhi.
All health facilities in the city have been asked to report suspected cases to the district surveillance teams. Doctors have been asked to take detailed history in patients with lesions, with the guidelines by the Centre stating that skin and sexually transmitted infection clinics must remain on alert for monkeypox cases.
Monkeypox is a self-limiting viral infection that causes symptoms such as fever, pox-like lesions, swelling of the lymph node and body ache. Infection in the cornea may lead to blindness. It may also result in complications such as viral pneumonia and sepsis (blood infection) in those with weak immune systems and children.