Conditions of three Monkeypox patients undergoing treatment in Kerala continues to be stable, and none of their primary contacts have tested positive 10 days after the first case was detected. Since then, the State Health Department has sought to ally concerns over the state of readiness to deal with the situation, reiterating that there is no cause for worry as adequate testing and surveillance measures are in place.

The State has already come out with the Standard Operating Procedures(SOPs) after a second case was reported on July 20 within days of the first, an official spokesperson said. The SOP has laid out clear guidelines for isolation, sample collection and treatment of the infected or those showing signs. Suspected cases are to be treated in isolation and the District Surveillance Officer(DSO) must be informed immediately.

State issues SOP

Samples should be collected as per protocols laid down by the National Institute of Virology (NIV) and the DSO would be responsible for forwarding it to the lab. Referrals from private hospitals to the government facilities should be on patient request, and only critically ill patients from the state-run hospitals with isolation facilities be referred to medical colleges.

Health workers have been directed to monitor those in the primary contact list for 21 days for any symptoms by calling them over the phone and recording their temperatures twice a day. The health worker or nurse in-charge should visit the house of the contacts periodically to ensure that they follow the guidelines. The State has since started testing for Monkeypox at the NIV, Alappuzha, with testing kits brought from the NIV, Pune.

Covid cases down

Meanwhile, an unseemly controversy erupted, after Health Minister Veena George joined an issue with the Centre denying outbreak of Monkeypox has led to a slack in preventive measures against Covid-19. The State continues to strictly follow all related protocols, she said, adding, any alleged remarks to the contrary are ‘unfortunate’ and political in nature. Preventive measures were the same for Covid-19 and Monkeypox, and therefore no slack in observing them, she added.

The Covid test positivity rate (TPR) has come down to 11.46 per cent on Monday from recent highs of close to 20 per cent in the latest reported surge of cases in the state. Daily new cases have fallen to below the 2,000 mark for the first time in 10 days. The average TPR has averaged at 12.3 per cent for last seven days compared with 13.83 per cent from the beginning of the pandemic. Seven deaths were reported on Monday while the number has been in double digits on most days so far in July.