Kerala on Friday reported the country’s third case of monkeypox in the state’s Malappuram district. The two previous cases were also reported in Kerala over the last one week.
State Minister for Health Veena George said the third patient with monkeypox travelled from the UAE. “The 35-year-old patient came from the UAE to Malappuram on July 6. He developed fever on July 13 and later developed symptoms of monkeypox on July 15. The patient is under treatment at the government medical college hospital in Manjeri. His condition is stable. All his primary contacts have been put under observation,” the minister said.
George said the condition of the two other individuals diagnosed with monkeypox continued to be stable. Kerala had reported India’s first monkeypox case on July 14 after a 35-year-old person who returned from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was diagnosed with the infection. Subsequently, the Centre rushed a high-level multi-disciplinary team to Kerala to collaborate with the state authorities in implementing public health measures. The state has sounded an alert in all 14 districts and help desks have been launched at all its four airports.
On July 18, Kerala confirmed its second case of monkeypox in a 31-year-old male who had arrived in Kannur from Dubai on July 13.
Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease with symptoms similar to smallpox, although with less clinical severity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms that last from two to four weeks. In recent times, officials said, the case fatality ratio for monkeypox has been around three-six per cent.
The virus is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, and spreads from lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding. Symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle ache and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and rashes that can look like pimples or blisters on the face, inside the mouth and other parts of the body.
According to official data, most of these cases are reported in the European region (86%) and the Americas (11%). Monkeypox is endemic to west and central African countries, such as Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The US also witnessed an outbreak in 2003, when 47 confirmed or probable cases were reported.