The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) doctors stated on Friday that although monkeypox has only been documented in one instance in India so far, it can be lethal for children.
Speaking to ANI, Dr Piyush Ranjan, Department of Medicine, AIIMS said, “The infectivity of monkeypox is less but it can be fatal in children. The COVID-19 infection has more transmissibility, but monkeypox infection occurs after prolonged exposure with an infected person. So the infection rate is very high in COVID and an infected person can infect many. But, monkeypox is less contagious.”
Explaining the symptoms, Dr Ranjan said, “Monkeypox symptoms are like smallpox and chickenpox. At the onset, patients will have fever and enlargement of lymph nodes. After 1-5 days the patient may report rashes on the face, palms or soles. They may have rashes in the cornea leading to blindness.”
Guidelines for the treatment of monkeypox sickness were released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday.
The ministry provided advice for the general populace on how to prevent the sickness, including avoiding contact with sick persons and keeping away from dead or wild animals (rodents, monkeys).
The general population has also been instructed to go to the closest medical institution if they come into touch with a person who has monkeypox or an area where there are sick people or animals.
In order to aid the nation’s readiness for monkeypox detection, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) reported that 15 Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories across the nation, which are geographically evenly distributed and strategically located, have already been trained in the diagnostic test by ICMR-NIV, Pune.
A traveller from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who landed in Kerala three days ago and tested positive for the viral illness was the first monkeypox case recorded in India on Thursday.
In response to the confirmed incidence of monkeypox in Kerala’s Kollam district, the Union Health Ministry hastily dispatched a high-level multidisciplinary team to Kerala to work with the state health authorities in implementing public health measures.
The National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. RML Hospital in New Delhi, top officials from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as well as specialists from the Regional Office of Health and Family Welfare in Kerala, made up the Central delegation that travelled to Kerala.
The team will closely collaborate with the State Health Departments to assess the current situation on the ground and suggest any required public health initiatives. According to the Ministry of Health, the Center is taking preventative measures by closely monitoring the situation and working with states in case any such chance of an epidemic emerges.
“No need to panic as the centre has given fresh directions to all the states and Union Territories regarding monkeypox. It spreads through close contact with lesions, body fluids, prolonged contact with Respiratory Droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding,” official sources told ANI.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it has put the South East Asia region on alert and advised appropriate steps to contain the spread of monkeypox.
“The Region has been on alert for monkeypox, countries have been taking measures to rapidly detect and take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of monkeypox,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia.
“WHO has been supporting Member countries in the Region assess the risk for monkeypox and strengthen their capacities to prepare and respond to the evolving multi-country outbreak,” she further said.