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Monkeypox death: Centre contacts UAE to know how patient took flight to Kerala

This is the first death linked to monkeypox infection in India. The Centre has set up a task force headed by NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul to keep an eye on the monkeypox situation in the country.

monkeypox, monkeypox symptoms, monkeypox death, Kerala youth dies of monkeypox, UAE, Kerala health minister, Veena George, National Institute of Virology, indian expressThis comes on a day when Delhi’s first case — a 34-year-old man from West Delhi’s Paschim Vihar — was discharged from the hospital after his lesions healed.

Days after a 22-year-old Kerala man monkeypox patient died, the Indian government has reached out to authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to know how he could board a flight to India despite having declared positive for the infection. The man, as per sources, boarded a flight to Kerala on July 22 after even as he was positive in the UAE itself.

“We have reached out to the officials in that country [UAE] to see why the man was allowed to board a flight despite having tested positive for monkeypox. We are stringently screening everyone at our airports and we expect the same from other countries as well,” an official in the know of the matter said.

The official added, “We have also been sensitising people about the infection, yet the patient did not immediately report to a health facility even after reaching Kerala. The person was out and about for five days before seeking care at a health facility when his symptoms worsened.” A sample was sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, by the hospital where the 22-year-old was admitted. He tested positive for monkeypox again.

This is the first death linked to monkeypox infection in India. Kerala Health Minister Veena George said since the person did not have the typical symptoms of monkeypox, even though he tested positive for the infection, a high-level probe will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

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So far, six cases of monkeypox have been recorded across the country, including a Nigerian national living in Delhi testing positive on Monday. The Nigerian who was admitted to Delhi’s nodal Lok Nayak Hospital on Sunday, doesn’t have history of international travel in last 21 days.

The Centre has set up a task force headed by NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul to keep an eye on the monkeypox situation in the country. The committee, besides monitoring the situation, has been tasked with developing indigenous diagnostic kits for the infection.

According to sources, though the committee is also looking at vaccine development – the Indian Council of Medical Research recently gave a call to collaborate for monkeypox vaccine development – at present, there is neither a need nor the scientific data to back vaccination even among the high-risk groups. The government will also encourage research on topics such as modes of transmission or whether the smallpox vaccine administered as part of eradication drive 40 years ago can protect against the monkeypox, a virus from the similar family.

First published on: 02-08-2022 at 04:10:29 am
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