A Nigerian woman in her 30s, living in Delhi for over a month, tested positive for monkeypox Wednesday, taking the capital’s tally to four. This is the country’s ninth case, and the first case in a woman, with most cases being detected in young men so far.
Globally too, the cases of monkeypox have been disproportionately reported among men. “We’re seeing cases that are largely focused on men… There have been some cases reported in women and children, but these have been very limited,” said Andy Seale, an advisor on sexually transmitted infections at World Health Organisation, in a video from the organisation.
The woman had no history of international travel in the last 21 days. None of the four persons who tested positive for the infection in Delhi had any history of international travel. In contrast, so far, all five cases reported from Kerala have a history of travel from UAE.
This is the third Nigerian national to test positive for the infection in Delhi, with one more suspected to have the infection admitted to Delhi’s nodal Lok Nayak hospital.
There is no history of contact between the four Nigerians, according to people in the know of the matter. All four persons have been living in different areas in Delhi for a month to a year. The three confirmed and the fourth suspected case appears to have similar symptoms. “All four persons have fever, typical rashes (similar to the ones seen in the first case from the city), ulcers in the mouth and thighs,” according to a doctor from Lok Nayak hospital, which was the only hospital designated for isolating confirmed and suspected cases of the infection till Tuesday.
Delhi’s first case of the infection was discharged Tuesday after testing negative on two subsequent tests one day apart and all lesions healing. Another person from Ghaziabad suspected to have the infection was discharged from the hospital last week after he tested negative and was diagnosed with chickenpox.
With four cases of monkeypox reported in Delhi, surveillance teams and doctors have reported an increase in people checking in about their lesions. “We are getting calls from healthcare facilities about people with lesions, in almost 90% of the cases it is chickenpox,” said a surveillance officer. A city doctor also said that they were getting queries from patients.
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As part of the government’s preparedness measures, isolation rooms were also readied in two other Delhi government hospitals and three private hospitals.
Monkeypox is a self-limiting viral infection that is transmitted by close skin-to-skin, mouth-to-mouth or sexual contact with a person having pox-like lesions. It can be transmitted through infected materials like linens. Big respiratory droplets are also known to affect if a person has prolonged close contact with an infected person.
The most common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy and swollen lymph nodes, along with pox-like rashes that last for two to three weeks. It is a self-limiting disease but can lead to death, especially among children and those with weak immune systems. Complications include pneumonia, secondary skin infections, confusion and eye problems.