The Jharkhand government has asked health officials to remain on alert and arrange isolation beds in all district hospitals after a seven-year-old girl was detected with symptoms similar to monkeypox in Garhwa, an official said on Wednesday. The samples of the girl have been collected and would be sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune for testing, he said.
"A suspected monkeypox case has been found. The girl has been found suffering from fever with a skin rash on her body. Instructions have been given to send her samples to NIV Pune as per the protocol. Samples are also being sent to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS)," Additional Chief Secretary, Health Arun Kumar Singh told PTI.
The state health department officials have been asked to monitor the situation in all the 24 districts, he said. "Authorities of all medical colleges and district hospitals have also been directed to "keep five isolation beds ready" in each of the facilities as a precautionary measure, Singh said.
As per Garwah Civil Surgeon Dr Kamlesh Kumar, the girl hails from Tandwa Muhalla and has been isolated in a ward at Sadar Hospital. She has no travel history, and investigations are on to assess whether her fever and rash were due to any drug allergy or not.
In a letter, Singh asked authorities of RIMS, medical colleges and civil surgeons to make people aware of the symptoms of the viral zoonotic disease as per the guidelines of the central government and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The disease has symptoms similar to smallpox, although it has less clinical severity, as mentioned in the letter. No monkeypox case has so far been recorded in the state but it is necessary to create awareness among people in order to contain its spread, he said.
Singh mentioned that high-risk people (persons with significant comorbidities and immunocompromised individuals) and those with monkeypox symptoms should be screened at outpatient departments to identify suspected cases.
People with a history of foreign travel should immediately inform their nearest health centres in case of symptoms like fever, headache and body ache within 21 days of their return.
Four monkeypox cases have been reported in other parts of the country till July 24. With many countries reporting monkeypox cases, the Union Health Ministry advised all states to direct hospitals to watch out for symptomatic patients, who have travelled to the monkeypox-affected countries recently, and isolate them at designated healthcare facilities.
The World Health Organization had on July 23 declared monkeypox a global public health emergency of international concern. More than 16,000 cases of the disease have been reported from 75 countries till July 24 and there have been five deaths so far as a result of the outbreak.
(With PTI inputs)