Monkeypox in India: Health department in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada sounds alert, Kerala starts testing at Alappuzha NIV lab

Monkeypox in India: The 31-year-old man, who had arrived at Mangaluru from Dubai on July 13, is now undergoing treatment at the government medical college at Pariyaram in Kannur district, said a PTI report.

  • As Monkeypox cases are confirmed through RT-PCR testing in Kerala, Dakshina Kannada district health depart sounded an alert
  • A man who travelled to Kerala via Mangaluru International Airport (MIA) was found to be infected with the disease
  • The man, who arrived at Mangaluru from Dubai on July 13, is now undergoing treatment at the government medical college at Pariyaram in Kannur district

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Monkeypox in India: Health department in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada sounds alert, Kerala  starts testing at Alappuzha NIV lab

Bengaluru/Mangaluru: As Monkeypox cases are confirmed through RT-PCR testing in Kerala, the Dakshina Kannada district health department in Karnataka has sounded an alert after a man who travelled to Kerala via Mangaluru International Airport (MIA) was found to be infected with the disease. The 31-year-old man had arrived at Mangaluru from Dubai on July 13, and he is now undergoing treatment at the government medical college at Pariyaram in Kannur district, said a PTI report.

Health department sources told PTI that as many as 35 people, who had contact with him, have been advised to remain isolated, while doctors have asked the airport officials and the passengers who had travelled with him to remain isolated and be under observation. 

There were 191 passengers on the flight on which the youth had arrived. Of them, 15 passengers were from Dakshina Kannada, six from Udupi district and 13 from Kasaragod, besides the passenger from Kannur. The passengers from Mangaluru have been traced and are being isolated as they were asked to contact the department if they develop symptoms, PTI reported citing district surveillance officer Dr Jagadish said.

A separate isolation ward for the treatment of suspected monkeypox-infected patients has been opened at the government Wenlock hospital here. Passengers arriving from foreign countries are being screened at the airport for temperature and rashes, he reportedly said.

Also read: Two monkeypox cases confirmed - Is India staring at a Monkeypox outbreak?

A senior official in Bengaluru said the officials at district level have been apprised about the measures taken to check monkeypox cases. The districts such as Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Kodagu, Mangaluru and Udupi have been asked to be on high alert.

"Already, the central government's guidelines have arrived. Shortly, the state government will also release its own set of guidelines," an officer told PTI requesting anonymity. The latter was confident that monkeypox will not be another COVID-19-like pandemic and will affect only those in close contact with the infected person.

Kerala starts testing for monkeypox infection at Alappuzha NIV

The Kerala government on Tuesday started testing for monkeypox infection at the Alappuzha NIV, state Health Minister Veena George said, adding that the testing kits were brought from Pune NIV and samples from various districts are now being sent to Alappuzha.

"We were able to set up this testing centre in the state within three to four days after the first monkeypox infection was detected. With this, the delay of sending samples to Pune and awaiting results can now be avoided," George said in a release, adding that monkeypox is confirmed through RT-PCR testing using samples from the patient's nose and throat.

The Kerala minister also said that there are 28 government labs in the state that can conduct COVID RT-PCR tests and these labs can be put to use if the number of cases increase.

On Monday, India reported a second confirmed case of monkeypox from Kerala's Kannur district. The person, who arrived in Kerala on July 13, was a native of Kannur in north Kerala and was undergoing treatment at the Pariyaram Medical College there. 

The first case of monkeypox, a rare but potentially serious viral illness, was reported in the Kollam district of south Kerala on July 14. The patient is currently undergoing treatment at the Government Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram. Their samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, and they tested positive for the virus.

The minister, however, said that all those who were in close contact with the patient are being closely monitored.

According to the World Health Organisation, monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals), with symptoms similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe.

With the eradication of smallpox in 1980 and the subsequent cessation of smallpox vaccination, monkeypox has emerged as the most important orthopoxvirus for public health. Monkeypox, which typically presents with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications, is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks.

(With PTI Inputs)

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