Delhi reports first case of monkeypox, fourth in India

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Indian capital New Delhi has reported its first case of monkeypox, officials said, adding that the man has no history of international travel.

The 31-year-old, currently admitted in central Delhi’s Maulana Azad Medical College Hospital, has reported symptoms of fever and skin lesions.

He first reported symptoms of the infection at least 10 days ago, when he developed a fever, officials said, according to the Hindustan Times.

Dr Suresh Kumar, medical director of government facility Lok Nayak Hospital, said the patient was currently in a stable condition.

Though the man does not have any history of travelling internationally, he did travel locally, Dr Kumar noted.

Authorities have initiated contact tracing, as the man reportedly attended a stag party in northern Indian hill station Manali.

“His isolation will depend on when his first symptom appeared and what the authorities direct,” Dr Kumar said.

It is India’s fourth confirmed case of the zoonotic disease, with the first three reported from the southern state of Kerala.

Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter to confirm the detection of monkeypox in the national capital and asked people to not panic.

“The first case of monkeypox was detected in Delhi. The patient is stable and recovering. There’s no need to panic. The situation is under control,” Mr Kejriwal said.

He added that authorities have made arrangements for a separate isolation ward at the city’s Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan hospital.

“Our best team is on the case to prevent the spread and protect Delhiites,” Mr Kejriwal said on Sunday morning.

The virus spreads through close contact and tends to cause flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions. Its more commonly known symptoms are a high temperature, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen glands, shivering and exhaustion, according to the NHS website.

The case in Delhi comes just a day after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries a “global health emergency”. The WHO label is set to trigger a coordinated international response and could unlock funding for countries to collaborate on sharing vaccines and treatments.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that while it is a public health emergency on a global scale, “for the moment this is an outbreak that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners”.

According to the global health body, most reported cases so far have been tracked through sexual health or other health services in primary or secondary healthcare facilities and “have involved mainly, but not exclusively, men who have sex with men”.

The WHO chief warned that stigma and discrimination can be as “dangerous as any virus”.

The risk of monkeypox was moderate globally except in Europe, where the WHO has termed the risk as high.

Cases of monkeypox emerged in early May from countries where the disease is not endemic, and continue to be reported in several endemic countries, the WHO said.

According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 74 countries since May.

To date, monkeypox deaths have only been reported in Africa, where a more dangerous version of the virus is spreading, mainly in Nigeria and Congo.

Additional reporting by agencies

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