Monkeypox: Health Min releases SOP for isolation, treatment

Monkey pox
Representative image. Photo: Arif biswas/

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Health Department on Wednesday released the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for dealing with monkeypox in the State.

The SOP released by Health Minister Veena George includes details about collecting samples, isolation and treatment.

All government and private hospitals in the State are expected to following the guidelines, the Minister said.

Individuals with symptoms like body ache, fever, headaches accompanied by blisters or red spots should be treated as suspected cases of monkeypox, if they have visited the countries with the monkeypox outbreak in the past 21 days.

The disease will be confirmed by a PCR test.

Primary contacts

Primary contacts of the patient would include individuals who have had face-to-face communication with the latter, those who have interacted with the patient without a PPE kit, and those who have had sexual intercourse with the concerned patient. Any person who touch the skin surface of the patient or share the same bed, clothing and so forth will also be included in the list of primary contacts.

Patients with monkeypox and primary contacts with high chance of contraction will be kept in isolation. The hospitals must intimate the District Surveillance Officer (DSO) about the patient after isolating him/her. The samples must be collected as per the protocol issued by the National Institute of Virology, Pune and the DSO would be responsible for sending the same to the lab.

Patients at private hospitals will be referred to government hospitals if they request the same. Only critical patients can be referred to the medical college hospitals.

Confirmed monkeypox cases must be treated as per the central guidelines.

Precautionary measures

Healthcare professionals in the ambulance must wear PPE kits, N95 masks, gloves and safety goggles while transferring monkeypox patients.

After patient delivery, the ambulance and equipment therein should be disinfected and patient's items like clothing, should be disposed of according to the guidelines, the Health department release said.

Representational image. Photo: PTI

All international passengers will be scanned with thermal scanners at airports. Those with high temperatures will be examined by a medical team at the airport for blisters.

If blisters are spotted during the examination, the DSO will be intimated and passengers will be moved to hospitals with isolation facilities.

Individuals with symptoms and those on the primary contact list will be observed for 21 days. They will be moved to isolation wards if they report fever. Their sample will be examined at the lab. If blisters or lesions appear, their samples will be sent for monkeypox test.

Health workers have been directed to monitor those in the primary contact list for 21 days for any symptoms by calling them over the phone and recording their temperature twice a day, it said and added that the health worker or nurse in charge of monitoring should visit the house of the contacts periodically to ensure they follow the guidelines.

In case the primary contact person has fever, they should be immediately isolated and if red spots appear, their samples should be sent for monkeypox testing, the release said.

Veena George
Health Minister Veena George. Photo: Screengrab/MMTV

Those in the contact list who are not showing symptoms should not donate blood, cells, tissue, organs, or semen, it added.

India had on Monday reported a second confirmed case of monkeypox from Kerala's Kannur district.

The patient is a native of Kannur in north Kerala. He was undergoing treatment at the Pariyaram Medical College after arriving in Kerala from abroad on July 13.

The first case of monkeypox was reported from Kollam district of south Kerala on July 14. He is currently undergoing treatment at the Government Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram.

The samples of both these patients were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) and they tested positive for the virus.

Representative image. Poto: IANS

What is Monkeypox

Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness.

According to the World Health Organisation, it 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 significant threat posed by orthopoxvirus (OPV) for public health. (Orthopoxvirus is a genus of closely related, large DNA viruses that encode about 200 genes.) 

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