Kerala confirms first Monkeypox case in India: Gulf-returnee tests positive

The patient arrived in Kerala on Tuesday, and began showing symptoms. Tests confirmed on Thursday that this was a case of Monkeypox.

ByK A Shaji

Published Jul 14, 2022 | 8:20 PM Updated Jul 26, 2022 | 1:37 PM

Veena George

India’s first case of Monkeypox was confirmed in Kerala on the evening of Thursday, 14 July.

Samples of a person who had returned from a Gulf country and showed symptoms of Monkeypox were sent for testing on Thursday morning.

By evening, tests conducted at the National Institute of Virology in Pune confirmed that this was a case of Monkeypox, said Kerala Health Minister Veena George.

Treatment

The patient is being treated in the isolation ward of the government medical college hospital in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram.

According to the minister, the Kollam native, who returned from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 12 July, was admitted to a private hospital in his locality after he developed a high fever the same day.

When he started showing symptoms of Monkeypox, doctors at the Kollam hospital referred him to the medical college hospital early on Thursday morning.

As soon as he reached the hospital, he was admitted to the isolation ward, and his samples were collected and sent to the laboratory in Pune.

George told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram: “We have identified 11 persons as primary contacts of the patient, who has now turned out to be the first case of Monkeypox in the country.”

Precautionary measures

She added: “​All the close contacts have already been shifted to the medical college’s isolation ward, and the health department is keeping extreme vigil in his locality of residence.”

She also said none of his primary contacts was showing symptoms of the viral zoonotic disease.

George sought to alleviate fears when she said: “We ​have taken all precautionary measures and there is no need to worry.”

She added: “The hospital staff who attended to him in Kollam did so wearing PPE kits. The state has been on alert after knowing that the youth’s room partner in the UAE was suffering from Monkeypox.”

India has had no confirmed cases of Monkeypox so far.

A suspected case was reported in Kolkata last week, but it turned out to be chickenpox.

George pointed out that Monkeypox has symptoms similar to smallpox, but is of less clinical severity.

The US reported nearly 800 cases of Monkeypox in the first week of July. The global tally is around 8,200 cases in 57 countries.

Monkeypox was first reported in 1958 in countries where monkeys were used for research work.