Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government on Friday stepped up vigil to prevent spread of monkeypox, issuing special alerts to five districts, a day after the southern state reported the country’s first case of the rare virus infection.
After chairing a high-level meeting here, state Health Minister Veena George said special alert has been issued to five districts as people from Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kottayam were co-passengers of the infected person in the Sharjah-Thiruvananthapuram Indigo flight that landed on July 12.
There were 164 passengers and six cabin crew on board, the minister said and added that isolation facilities will be set up in all these districts. The minister said 11 people who were in the seats next to him are in the high risk contact list.
The parents of the patient, an auto driver, a taxi driver, a dermatologist of a private hospital where the infected person sought the treatment first and his 11 co-passengers who were sitting next to his seats in the flight are now in the primary contact list. “Passengers who have traveled in this flight should conduct self-monitoring and report to the health officials if they develop any symptoms of virus infection in 21 days. As the phone numbers of many are not available, they are being traced with the help of the police”, George said in a statement.
The minister said the health workers are in touch with the people who were suspected to have come in contact with the infected person and if they have fever or any other symptoms, they will be tested including for COVID-19. Tests to detect the monkeypox will also be conducted if they are showing any symptoms of the disease. Immigration clearance officers and those who handled the patient’s baggage at the airport also figure in the surveillance list. Expressing satisfaction over the patient’s health condition, the minister said all districts in the state have been alerted and specialist training will be provided to health workers to deal with the monkeypox cases.
She also warned against spreading false propaganda. India reported its first case of monkeypox on Thursday, with a Keralite who returned from the UAE testing positive for the virus, prompting the Centre to rush a high-level multi-disciplinary team to collaborate with the State Health Authorities in instituting public health measures.