One more cases of Monkeypox has been confirmed in Delhi, taking the cumulative national tally to nine. A 31-year-old Nigerian woman tested positive for monkeypox in Delhi, news agency PTI reported citing sources.
This is the fourth case of monkeypox in Delhi. Earlier, two Nigerian nationals having no recent history of foreign travel tested positive for monkeypox in the national capital.
Meanwhile, a task force on monkeypox has been constituted to closely monitor the emerging situation in the country and decide on response initiatives to tackle the spread of the disease.
The decision to constitute the task force was taken at a high-level meeting held on July 26 at the level of the principal secretary to the prime minister to review the ongoing public health preparedness in the country.
The task force will be headed by Dr V K Paul, NITI Aayog member (health). The National Aids Control Organisation and the Directorate General of Health Services in the Health Ministry have been asked to work on a targeted communication strategy to promote timely reporting, detection of cases and management of cases, an official source said.
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.
While the first case in India was reported from Kerala on July 14, Union Health Minister Mansukh Madaviya said much before that on May 1, 2022 the Centre had given guidelines to all states, and not just for international airports, on surveillance mechanism and contact tracing, how to collect samples from suspected cases and sending it to recognised laboratories for testing.
With the disease spreading only through close and deep contacts, he said no specific community is at risk and the government has taken up steps to create awareness about common symptoms, reporting of suspected cases and prevention from the disease.
Mandaviya said WHO has reported 18,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox globally from 78 countries and five deaths till July 27, 2022.
Centre’s ‘Guidelines on Management of Monkeypox Disease’ state that human-to-human transmission occurs primarily through large respiratory droplets generally requiring prolonged close contact. The virus 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.
On July 23, the World Health Organisation (WHO) sounded its highest level of alert for monkeypox and declared the virus as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), after more than 16,000 cases and five deaths were reported from 75 countries. The global health body also called on nations to work closely with communities of men who have sex with men and adopt measures that protect the health, human rights, and dignity of affected communities.
(With PTI inputs)