There is nothing to be concerned or worried about monkeypox as testing and surveillance have been intensified across the state and those among the primary contacts of the three infected persons in the state have tested negative, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said on Monday.
The minister said that while the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared monkeypox outbreak as a global emergency due to its spread to around 68 countries across the world, the disease was not highly infectious and in Kerala the government was equipped to deal with it.
However, people, especially those with a foreign travel history, need to be cautious and alert, she said and added that the health professionals and workers in the state have been given training to identify and deal with monkeypox cases.
Directions have been issued to health authorities across the state to be vigilant, she said. Regarding the three persons who tested positive for the disease, the minister said their health condition was stable and none among their primary contacts have tested positive for the infection till now.
A 35-year old man, who came to Kerala from the UAE earlier this month, has tested positive for monkeypox, making him the third case of the virus from the country as well as the state. The Malappuram native had arrived in the southern state on July 6 and had fever since July 13, the health department had said.
India had last week reported a second confirmed case of monkeypox from Kerala's Kannur district. The patient, a native of Kannur in north Kerala, had arrived in the southern state on July 13.
The first case of monkeypox, a rare but potentially serious viral illness, in the state as well as the country was reported from Kollam district of south Kerala on July 14. Besides the three cases in Kerala, a 34-year-old man from Delhi with no history of foreign travel tested positive for monkeypox in the national capital, taking the country's tally of cases to four on Sunday.
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.
(With PTI Inputs)