Kerala Govt Confirms India’s First Monkeypox Death

State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the samples sent to NIV, Pune, had returned positive and had been a West African variant.

Monkeypox (Representative Image)(Photo: WHO)

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala government on Monday confirmed that the 22-year-old man, who died on July 30, tested positive for monkeypox making the fatality the first such one in the country.

State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the samples sent to NIV (National Institute of Virology), Pune, had returned positive and had been a West African variant.

Vijayan said the man, who reached the State on July 22, had earlier tested positive for monkey pox on July 19 in the UAE.

“He was admitted to a private hospital at Thrissur on July 27 after his health deteriorated but his relatives informed the hospital authorities about the test result from UAE on July 30,” State Health Minister Veena George said in a release.

George said there are 20 contacts under the high-risk category including his family members, friends, a helper and others who played football with him.

Chief Minister said a detailed probe would be conducted by a high-level State medical board.

George had, on Sunday, said the patient was young and did not suffer from any other illness or health problems and, therefore, the Health Department was looking into the cause of his death.

“This particular variant of monkey pox is not as 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 had said.

Since this variant of monkey pox does spread, all necessary measures have to be taken to prevent the same, she added.

According to the WHO, monkey pox is a viral zoonosis — a virus transmitted to humans from animals — with symptoms similar to small pox although clinically less severe.

Monkey pox typically manifests itself with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications. It is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting for two to four weeks.

The ‘Guidelines on Management of Monkey pox Disease’ issued by the Centre, stated that human-to-human transmission occurs primarily through large respiratory droplets generally requiring prolonged close contact.

It can also be transmitted through direct contact with body fluids or lesions, and indirect contact with lesion material such as through contaminated clothing or linen of an infected person. Animal-to-human transmission may occur by bite or scratch of infected animals or through bush meat preparation.

The incubation period is usually from six to 13 days and the case fatality rate of monkey pox has historically ranged up to 11 per cent in the general population and higher among children. In recent times, the case fatality rate has been around three to six per cent.

The symptoms include lesions which usually begin within one to three days from the onset of fever, lasting for around two to four weeks and are often described as painful until the healing phase when they become itchy. A notable predilection for palm and soles is characteristic of monkey pox, the guidelines said.