No monkeypox case in Bengaluru, Ethiopian patient tests positive for chickenpox

After symptoms similar to monkeypox were noticed in an Ethiopian man seeking kidney treatment in Bengaluru, tests revealed that he had contracted chickenpox.
A health worker wearing blue surgical gloves, holding a patient's samples
A health worker wearing blue surgical gloves, holding a patient's samples
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Even as authorities are gearing up to battle monkeypox, an Ethiopian national who was suspected to have symptoms of the virus was quarantined at a private hospital in Bengaluru. When his symptoms developed, the man’s samples were later sent to the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute laboratory. However, the test results revealed that the man was down with chickenpox, and not monkeypox.

Karnataka Health Commissioner D Randeep said in a statement that the Ethiopian national is a Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patient, who came to Bengaluru from Addis Ababa on July 4 for a kidney transplant procedure, registered in the Aster CMI hospital. In the statement, the official added that the man developed a rash on his left hand — which later spread to the rest of his body — and experienced itching. Officials at the hospital noticed the rashes when the man came in for dialysis, the Health Commissioner explained.

Confirming that the man had contracted chickenpox and not monkeypox, Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar tweeted, "A middle-aged Ethiopian citizen who had come to Bengaluru earlier this month was subjected to a monkey pox test after he was suspected to have its symptoms. His report has now confirmed that it is a case of chicken pox (sic)."  The minister added that all international travellers from affected countries are being screened on arrival into the state. "All symptomatic travellers arriving from the affected countries to Bengaluru/Mangaluru international airports are being screened, isolated and tested for fever, chills and sweat, lymph node swelling, headache, muscle ache, exhaustion, sore throat and cough, skin rashes," he said.

So far, four cases of monkeypox have been reported in India. On Saturday, July 30, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said that the first patient who tested positive for the virus has recovered. As it was the first case of monkeypox in the country, tests were conducted twice at an interval of 72 hours as per the instructions of the National Institute of Virology (NIV), she said. "All samples were negative twice. The patient is physically and mentally healthy. The skin bumps are completely cured," Veena said. The minister also said the test results of his family members, who were in the primary contact list with him, are also negative.

According to WHO, 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 subsequent cessation of smallpox vaccination, monkeypox has emerged as the most important orthopoxvirus for public health.

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