First case of monkeypox reported in Delhi: Hospitals to report all suspected cases, check history of patients with lesions

A day later a 34-year-old west Delhi resident tested positive for monkeypox – becoming the capital’s first case as well as the country’s first instance of local transmission – district surveillance teams in the city have been asked to remain vigilant and create awareness about the disease, while doctors have to report all suspected cases to the government has been asked to Take a detailed history of people with smallpox-like lesions to make sure they do not have monkeypox.

Although the source of infection for the first case is yet to be determined, none of his contacts who were asked to quarantine have developed any symptoms so far.

According to a message sent from the State Integrated Disease Surveillance Team to the district authorities and hospitals, “As stated earlier, it is mandatory for all health facilities to report any suspected case of monkeypox to the concerned district surveillance unit.”

Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that at a meeting of district surveillance teams they were told that doctors have been asked to take a detailed history of people with chicken pox. “With the possibility of monkeypox being considered chickenpox due to skin lesions, doctors have been advised to take a detailed history of patients to determine whether it may be monkeypox,” said one of the officials.

“All district surveillance units should ensure to increase health facility-based surveillance for monkeypox, followed by necessary community-based interventions as per the guidelines,” the communication said.

Lok Nayak Hospital, where the first patient is presently admitted, has been designated as the nodal hospital for isolation of patients with viral infection, stating, “One ward at Lok Nayak Hospital with suspected/confirmed cases reserved for isolation. Monkeypox, hence any such case should be referred and isolated at Lok Nayak Hospital in coordination with district surveillance officers.”

The isolation wards at the hospital – on the fifth, sixth and seventh floors of the emergency block, which are used for infectious diseases such as dengue and COVID-19 – are currently undergoing renovation. Actually, the patient has been admitted to the seventh floor where the work of installing the door frame and partition was going on on Monday.

District teams have so far identified 13 contacts of the patient, including family members and the doctor who referred the patient. “None of them are symptomatic so far,” said an official, adding, “We do not know whether the patient had come in contact with any international traveler during his stay in Himachal. It is unlikely that he would have contracted the infection from a friend who also had a fever because his symptoms occurred more than 21 days ago. And, for monkeypox, 21 days is considered the incubation period—the time from being infected to developing symptoms. ,

The 34-year-old had a history of fever and rashes for two weeks.

Monkeypox is a self-limited viral infection that spreads from person to person through contact with large respiratory secretions or wounds from an infected person or contaminated objects. However, unlike influenza or COVID-19, transmission of monkeypox through respiratory droplets involves prolonged face-to-face contact and usually only occurs in families and healthcare workers.

The most common symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy and swollen lymph nodes as well as smallpox rashes that last two to three weeks. It is a self-limiting disease but can cause death, especially in children and people with weakened immune systems. Complications of infection include pneumonia, secondary skin infections, confusion and eye problems.

The World Health Organization on Saturday declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern after 16,000 cases were reported from nearly 75 countries.