India has reported its first death due to the monkeypox virus. A 22-year-old man died in Kerala on Saturday, and his samples have tested positive for monkeypox, according to reports.
Following his death, 20 people have been quarantined in Thrissur, an NDTV report said on Monday (August 1).
“The situation is well under control, there’s no panic here as of now. The person had direct contact with only 10 people including family members and a few friends. 20 people quarantined so far,” said Renjini, Member, Education and Health standing committee, as per the report.
Tested positive in UAE
The man had recently returned from the UAE where also his samples had tested positive for the disease, a PTI report said on Monday citing sources.
Apparently, his samples were taken in the UAE on July 19 and he returned to India on July 21 and was admitted to a hospital in Thrissur on July 27.
His samples were sent for testing to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.
“The results came out positive on Monday,” the sources said.
According to the relatives of the deceased, they were informed on July 30 – the same day the patient died – that his samples taken in UAE had also tested positive, the sources said.
Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Sunday said the health department will examine the reasons behind the death of the man.
The patient was young and did not suffer from any other illness or health problems and therefore, the health department was looking into the cause of his death, she said.
George said they will also be examining why there was a delay in his hospitalisation after he arrived from the UAE on July 21.
“This particular variant of monkeypox is not as highly virulent or contagious like COVID-19, but it does spread. Comparatively, the mortality rate of this variant is low. Therefore, we will examine why the 22-year-old man died in this particular case as he had no other illness or health problems,” the minister had said.
Since this variant of monkeypox does spread, all necessary measures have to be taken to prevent the same, she added.
‘Important meeting’ in Karnataka
Meanwhile, following the death of a man due to monkeypox in neighbouring Kerala, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has called an “important meeting” of the Health Minister and department officials on Tuesday regarding control measures and treatment facility to be put in place.
The Karnataka Chief Minister also indicated that the government is likely to issue certain directions following the meeting.
“We have taken monkeypox seriously, tomorrow I have called an important meeting with the Health Minister and Health department officials, to discuss how to check the travellers, setting up labs and other measures that need to be taken,” Bommai said on Monday.
He said, the meeting will decide on the measures that need to be taken and directions need to be issued to control the spread of monkeypox, also regarding the required treatment and arrangement for medicines.
Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Sunday had said that the Ethiopian national, who was suspected to have a monkeypox case in Bengaluru has turned out to be a case of chickenpox.
All travellers from affected countries are being screened on arrival into the state, he had said.
The Karnataka government had recently decided to speed up surveillance activities and keep a strong vigil in the state.
It has instructed officials in all the districts in the state to ensure effective preparedness and take required action as per the Centres guidelines and Technical Advisory Committee recommendations regarding monkeypox.
What WHO said?
Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a global public health emergency of international concern and said it is “spreading rapidly” to many countries. Globally, over 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported from 75 countries.
The WHO has called on countries in South-East Asia Region to strengthen surveillance and public health measures for monkeypox, with the disease being declared a public health emergency of international concern.
Monkeypox virus is transmitted from infected animals to humans via indirect or direct contact. Human-to-human transmission can occur through direct contact with infectious skin or lesions, including face-to-face, skin-to-skin, and respiratory droplets.
In the current outbreak countries and amongst the reported monkeypox cases, transmission appears to be occurring primarily through close physical contact, including sexual contact. Transmission can also occur from contaminated materials such as linens, bedding, electronics, clothing, that have infectious skin particles.
(With inputs from agencies)