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Experts raise alarm after first monkeypox death, lay stress on surveillance

By Shalini Bhardwaj
August 02, 2022 01:01 IST
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After confirmation of the first monkeypox death in the country by the National Institute of Virology, health experts advised strengthening the surveillance to avoid silent transmission of monkeypox.

Speaking to ANI, Dr PS Indu, professor and head of department of community medicine, Government Medical College, Kollam said it is definitely the time to strengthen the surveillance.

Stressing the surveillance, Dr Indu said, "Surveillance is important. To know what is happening around us, we need data. And this can only happen when people screen them and get tested."


She said it is important to strengthen surveillance, otherwise, silent transmission can be speared and warned about complications and silent transmission of monkeypox if surveillance is not get strengthened.

"Screening is important, otherwise, the silent transmission can spread and then people will come with complications. All countries have to take action and share data with important information," added Dr Indu.

The health expert further explained the complications of the virus.

"It is a virus which can create issues like infection in the mouth, cavity, rashes that you see in the face, lymphadenopathy, lesions on palms and soles," Dr Indu said.

"The secondary infections are dermatology complications and central nervous system complications which can result in mortality death. And other issues that affect the brain. Encephalitis is an infection of the brain," she added.

Later, she also stressed wearing masks to avoid face-to-face contact and said, "We need to continue to wear masks and avoid face-to-face and skin-to-skin contact with people who are not aware of their potential symptoms."

There is also a monkeypox vaccine but these are the policy decisions that have to come up in the long run, she added.

Earlier in the day, Kerala health minister Veena George confirmed that the test reports of a 22-year-old person with monkeypox symptoms who died on July 30 were found to be positive for the viral zoonotic infection.

The youth hailed from Chavakkad Kuranjiyur in Thrissur district tested positive in UAE and died in Kerala on July 30.

He was also treated for Encephalitis and altered seizures and other diseases and he was given antibiotics.

Currently, 20 high-risk contacts are under observation which includes three health workers, a doctor and two nursing staff from the private hospital.

Notably, India has reported five cases of monkeypox so far, of which three cases are from Kerala, one from Delhi and one from Andhra Pradesh's Guntur. Following this, the central government is on an alert even as the count of infections in some other countries has risen.

NITI Aayog's member (health) Dr VK Paul said that there is absolutely no need for any panic as the government has taken significant measures to keep the disease in check.

Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the same family of viruses that causes smallpox.

The disease is endemic in regions like West and Central Africa but lately, cases have been reported from non-endemic countries too, according to the WHO.

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Shalini Bhardwaj in New Delhi
Source: ANI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R
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