A day after the Union government directed the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to keep a close watch on monkeypox cases being reported from some countries, Kerala Health Minister Veena George directed the district authorities in the state to remain vigilant and create awareness about the disease. The Minister said that the health department has called a special meeting and initiated the necessary precautionary measures.
"Authorities have been asked to remain vigilant as Monkeypox, which was earlier detected in Africa alone, has begun to spread to other parts of the world. Everyone should have awareness of the disease and preventive measures," the minister said in a statement.
The first case of Monkeypox was reported in the Republic of Congo in 1970, with very few cases being reported outside central and west Africa in the past five decades. Amid Monkeypox cases being reported from some countries, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had, on Friday, May 20, directed NCDC and ICMR to keep a close watch on the situation. The Union Health Ministry has also directed airport and port health officers to be vigilant.
Minister George said the symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than those of smallpox.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), monkeypox typically manifests in humans with fever, rashes and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications. Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from two to four weeks. It can also take a severe form, with the WHO saying the case fatality ratio has been around 3% to 6% in recent times. Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
According to WHO, an antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox. However, the condition of the patient improves with symptomatic management. WHO has so far identified 80 monkeypox cases globally and has 50 cases under suspected cases list.