India’s 1st monkeypox death reported; Kerala youth tested positive abroad


The death of a 22-year-old man from Punniyoor in Thrissur district of on Saturday is likely to be the first case of mokeypox death in India as the state health minister Veena George confirmed on Sunday that he tested positive in another country.

A report from the Institute of Virology in Alappuzha is likely to be out by Sunday night or Monday. The youth had landed in on July 22 from the United Arab Emirates. Out of the four monkeypox cases reported so far in India, three are from . “He had conducted tests a day before coming to India. As per the report, he is monkeypox positive,” George told the media on Sunday. The state government has already constituted a high-level committee with members from the medical education department. “They have been asked to submit a detailed report as death due to monkeypox is unlikely,” she added.

According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) official numbers published on July 22 this year, around 16,016 monkeypox cases were confirmed between January 1 to July 22 this year. Despite this, only five cases of deaths were reported from 75 countries. Spain and Brazil had reported the first cases of deaths outside Africa on Friday. The deaths reported in Africa were from Nigeria (three) and Central African republic (two).

Though the NIV report is yet to be out, the state government has started taking precautionary measures. People who were in close contact with the deceased were asked to go on quarantine. After coming in contact with the infected person, the incubation period is around 21 days. The Panchayat authorities have already called for a meeting of all the health workers on Monday. According to the media reports, there were no visible symptoms of monkeypox on the patient other than viral fever. He had no other illness or health problems

The minister said that since this variant of monkeypox is not contagious like Covid and has a lower mortality rate, the reasons for the death have to be examined. The regional media reported that the person had multiple interactions with the local people and had even played football after reaching home. He was shifted to a private hospital on July 26 and later shifted to life support. The health authorities in the state are looking at the reason for this delay in reporting and have already made a route map of the person. The burial was also conducted following monkeypox guidelines.

It was on July 23 that WHO had declared monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern and issued temporary recommendations in relation to the outbreak. Kerala had seen the country’s first three cases of Covid-19 too, when three Indian medical students who had returned from Wuhan got infected on January 30, 2020. The first case of Covid death in India was reported in Karnataka in March 2020. On May 19, 2018, Kerala had also reported the first case of Nipah virus in South India. State health authorities have said that there is no reason to panic as monkeypox is not fatal like Covid or Nipah.


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