Samples of deceased Kerala youth test positive for monkeypox; 15 under observation

Representational image.

Thiruvananthapuram: Two days after a youth died in Kerala's Thrissur district, his samples came out positive for monkeypox on Monday, official sources said.

The 22-year-old man died on July 30. He had recently returned from the UAE where also his samples had tested positive for the disease, the sources said.

His samples were sent for testing to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and the results came on Monday. Fifteen people who had come in contacts with him have been put under observation. Those in the contact list include four friends who picked the youth from airport, family members and health workers who looked after him.

The youth had gone out to play with his friends also.

Apparently, his samples were taken in the UAE on July 19 and he returned to India on July 21 and was admitted to a hospital in Thrissur on July 27.

According to the relatives of the deceased they were informed on July 30 -- the same day the patient died -- that his samples taken in UAE had also tested positive, the sources said.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Sunday said the health department will examine the reasons behind the death of the man.

The patient was young, did not suffer from any other illness or health problems and therefore, the health department was looking into the cause of his death, she said.

George said they will also be examining why there was a delay in his hospitalisation after he arrived from the UAE on July 21.

"This particular variant of monkeypox 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 monkeypox does spread, all necessary measures have to be taken to prevent the same, she added.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged those experiencing monkeypox symptoms to come forward and seek treatment.

According to the WHO, monkeypox is a viral zoonosis -- a virus transmitted to humans from animals -- with symptoms similar to smallpox although clinically less severe.

Monkeypox 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 Monkeypox 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 monkeypox 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 monkeypox, the guidelines stated.

(With inputs from PTI)

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