Fifth monkeypox case in Kerala: 30-year-old man who came from UAE

Kerala Health Minister Veena George said that the patient is undergoing treatment in Malappuram.
Monkeypox case in Kerala: A health worker in gloves holding a blood sample
Monkeypox case in Kerala: A health worker in gloves holding a blood sample
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Kerala has reported its fifth case of monkeypox, as a 30-year-old man who came to Kerala from UAE tested positive for the virus. Health Minister Veena George informed the media that the 30-year-old man is undergoing treatment in Malappuram. 

The patient arrived at Kozhikode Airport from the UAE on July 27. His mother, father and two friends who were in close contact with him have been kept under observation. 

With this, five people so far have been confirmed to have tested positive for the monkeypox virus in the state. Kerala’s first monkeypox patient has been discharged after treatment. The condition of the other monkeypox patients who have been undergoing treatment in the hospital continues to be satisfactory, the minister said. 

Kerala on Monday reported its first monkeypox death, as NIV Pune confirmed that the samples of the 22-year-old man — who came from UAE and died a few days later — were positive for the monkeypox virus. 22-year-old Hafeez came to Thrissur from the UAE on July 22, and collapsed suddenly on July 27. He was taken to a local clinic, and from there he was moved to a hospital, where he was undergoing treatment. However, he passed away on Saturday, July 30.

The Kerala health department has gotten in touch with all those who came in contact with the deceased patient. Health Minister Veena George said they have identified 20 persons who had high-risk contact with the patient. "The primary contacts include members of his immediate family, a house help, the four friends who accompanied him from Karipur airport and nine others with whom he had close contact during a football game," said Veena George. 

According to the WHO, monkeypox is a viral zoonosis — a virus transmitted to humans from animals — with symptoms similar to smallpox although clinically less severe. Monkeypox typically manifests itself with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications. It is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting for two to four weeks.

The 'Guidelines on Management of Monkeypox Disease' issued by the Union government stated that human-to-human transmission occurs primarily through large respiratory droplets generally requiring prolonged close contact. It can also be transmitted through direct contact with body fluids or lesions, and indirect contact with lesion material such as through contaminated clothing or linen of an infected person. Animal-to-human transmission may occur by bite or scratch of infected animals or through bush meat preparation.

The incubation period is usually from six to 13 days and the case fatality rate of monkeypox has historically ranged up to 11 per cent in the general population and higher among children. In recent times, the case fatality rate has been around three to six per cent. 

The symptoms include lesions which usually begin within one to three days from the onset of fever, lasting for around two to four weeks and are often described as painful until the healing phase when they become itchy. A notable predilection for palm and soles is characteristic of monkeypox, the guidelines stated.

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