Srinagar: The Health Department has screened six persons for suspected monkeypox in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe.
The symptoms include acute skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, body aches, and profound weakness.
According to the officials, an Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) was sent to Dazna village of Lachipora Uri after a suspected case with symptoms like monkeypox was reported at Primary Health Center (PHC) Bijhama on October 6.
“On October 6, a suspected case was reported at PHC Bijhama. A medical officer informed me regarding a suspected case of monkeypox or chickenpox. We immediately informed the CMO Baramulla and the IDSP team of district Baramulla was sent for further action,” Block Medical Officer (BMO) Boniyar, Dr Parvaiz Masoodi told Greater Kashmir.
He said that the six suspected patients have Maculopapular rash over the body mostly on the face and abdomen.
One of the suspected persons has recently returned from Jammu.
“Most of the patients are hiding their travel history,” Dr Masoodi said.
He said that so far, they cannot say whether these suspected people have monkeypox or chickenpox.
Dr Masoodi said that residents of Dazna village were examined and the infected people were isolated.
“We have taken the samples and in the coming days, reports will come and we will be able to find out what kind of disease this is,” he said.
Dr Masoodi said that an awareness drive had been launched to raise awareness among the people regarding the disease.
Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK) spokesman Dr Mir Mushtaq told Greater Kashmir that the samples had been taken and results were awaited.
“These mostly seem like chickenpox cases. But in the interest of public safety and health, we want to clear this doubt. We have sent our team to examine the suspected monkeypox cases in the entire village. We have taken the samples as well,” he said.
Recently, the Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) sought a monkeypox testing facility at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar.
No case of the disease has been detected in Kashmir so far, but India has reported 14 confirmed cases of monkeypox till now.
The first monkeypox case was reported in India on July 14, 2022, when Kerala's State Health Minister Veena George announced a suspected imported case which was confirmed hours later by the NIV.
India was the 10th country to report a monkeypox case in Asia and the first in South Asia.