Health Minister Veena George told TNM that the patient did not have any rashes on his body, and the doctors hence saw no reason to suspect that he was suffering from a monkeypox infection.

Telangana hospital monkey pox suspected case PTI photoPhoto | PTI
news Monkeypox Sunday, July 31, 2022 - 17:34

India’s first suspected death due to monkeypox has been reported from Thrissur in Kerala, after a 22-year-old man who returned from the UAE died on July 30, Saturday. The young man, who had returned to Kerala on July 21, was admitted to a private hospital on July 27 after he developed encephalitis and fever, besides which his lymph nodes were swollen. However, Kerala Health Minister Veena George told TNM that the patient did not have any rashes on his body, and the doctors hence saw no reason to suspect that he was suffering from a monkeypox infection.

It was revealed only after his death that he had tested positive for the monkeypox virus in Ras Al-Khaimah on July 19, just before his return to Kerala, the minister said. His samples have now been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Alappuzha for confirmation, she added.

Veena said that there will be a proper inquiry to know what led to the death of the man, considering the fatality rate is very low in monkeypox cases. She also said that there will be an inquiry over why there was a delay in sharing the test results from the UAE with the authorities. “This particular variant of monkeypox is not 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 told the media.

Since this variant of monkeypox does spread, all necessary measures have been taken to prevent the same, the minister said. She added that there were no studies available about this particular variant from other countries where the disease has been detected, and Kerala was therefore carrying out a study into it.

Monkeypox symptoms usually last for two to four weeks. According to the World Health Organisation, the case-fatality ratio associated with the virus stands at around 3-6%. In India, the first lab-confirmed case of monkeypox was reported in a 35-year-old Kollam native more than two weeks ago, soon after he returned from the UAE. He had been undergoing treatment at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital, and was discharged from the hospital on Saturday after testing negative for the virus. Besides the deceased Thrissur patient, four confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported in India, among which three are from Kerala and one from Delhi. The two other patients from Kerala are also under observation, and their health condition is said to be satisfactory.

After 2003, monkeypox outbreaks had started to be reported again from 2018 in countries including the United States, Nigeria and the United Kingdom. But this year on, the virus has begun to make an appearance in many non-endemic countries as well.

 
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