Kerala on Monday reported the first death from monkeypox after the National Virology Institute at Alappuzha and Pune confirmed that a youth, who had arrived from the UAE a week ago, had died of the virus in a private hospital in Thrissur on Saturday. Relatives, later, produced documents suggesting he tested positive in the UAE.

The 22-year-old youth, a native of Punniyoor in Thrissur, was the fourth imported case of the virus in the state, and incidentally flew in from the UAE just as his three predecessors. Health Minister Veena George had said while results of tests done in the UAE had confirmed the presence of the monkeypox virus, samples sent to the NIV in Alappuzha and Pune are yet to be confirmed. The news broke out a day after the first of the three existing cases reported in the State earlier in July was discharged from the Government Medical College in Thiruvananthapuram.

No symptoms on arrival

“The youth had no symptoms of monkeypox. He had been admitted to a hospital with symptoms of encephalitis and fatigue. His relatives handed over the test result on Saturday. A high-level probe would be held into the death as monkeypox has a very low fatality rate,’’ the minister said. Another report said the youth had arrived from the UAE on July 21 and was admitted to the hospital on July 27 with acute fatigue and meningitis. He was not apparently exhibiting any visible symptoms of monkeypox.

Contacts put on alert

A high-level inquiry is being ordered in the case since it needs to be ascertained why there was a delay in seeking treatment for the youth arrived in the State a week ago. Preventive measures have been intensified around the village of the deceased. Those who travelled along with him on the flight from UAE, the taxi driver who took him from the airport, relatives, neighbours, and doctors and health workers who treated on him have been asked to isolate themselves.

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