Amid the rising monkeypox cases across the globe, India recorded its ninth case on Wednesday after a foreign national tested positive in Delhi. It is yet not known if the 31-year-old woman had traveled abroad recently. Of the nine cases reported from India, five are from Kerala and four from Delhi.
On Wednesday, another foreigner with no recent travel history tested positive for monkeypox in Delhi and was admitted to the government-run Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital. As more cases are being reported, screening at airports has been stepped up and states and Centre have issued guidelines in view of the unfolding health situation.
Here is what you need to know about monkeypox cases in India and several steps taken to handle the situation:
Cases in India
India reported it's first monkeypox case on July 14 from Kerala after a 35-year-old man tested positive. The case was also the first in WHO South-East Asia Region. The person has now recovered and was discharged from the hospital on July 30. However, another person from Kerala who had tested positive for monkeypox in UAE died last week. The state health minister of Kerala, Veena George, said on Sunday that the man had no symptoms for monkeypox and a probe had been launched to ascertain the cause of death.
Meanwhile, the first monkeypox case from Delhi was also discharged from the hospital earlier this week.
Centre, States' Response
In view of rising cases, the Centre has called for a meeting of top health experts on Thursday. L Swasticharan, director of health ministry's Emergency Medical Relief (EMR), will chair the meeting, while World Health Organisation's Dr Pavana Murthy will also be present there.
Screening at the airports for international travelers has been stepped up to trace any possible case of the virus infection. Notably, few of the people who tested positive for monkeypox had no travel history. States have also put in place a surveillance system to trace and isolate the close contacts of infected patients. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday ordered three government-run hospitals to set up isolation wards for confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox. Here is a list of guidelines issued by several states in view of rising cases.
A national task force has also been constituted to monitor the the development of diagnostics and vaccines, Health Minister Mansukh Madaviya told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox infection is caused by a zoonotic virus in the genus Orthopoxvirus in the family Poxviridae called monkeypox virus. The genus was also seen in the variola virus that caused the fatal Smallpox outbreak that has now been eradicated.
The symptoms of the infection are fever, swollen lymph nodes and rashes that form blisters after 1-3 days of fever. The symptoms usually last from 5 to 21 days. Complications of monkeypox can also consist of secondary infections, bronchopneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis, and infection of the cornea with ensuing loss of vision. According to the WHO, the fatality rate of monkeypox has historically ranged from 0 to 11 per cent with children, pregnant women and immunosuppressed patients being the most vulnerable group of people to catch the disease. In recent times, the fatality rate has ranged
Global health emergency
The WHO on July 23 declared monkeypox a global health emergency after the cases were reported in 75 countries. The decision was made in an Emergency Committee meeting convened by Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, after a similar meeting last month decided against the declaration. Ghebreyesus outlined that he was satisfied that criteria for declaring the public health emergency had been met. "There is also a clear risk of further international spread, although the risk of interference with international traffic remains low for the moment," he said in the press conference.