Monkeypox not a new disease’: Health minister allays concerns in Parliament

2 AUG 2022

Monkeypox not a new disease’: Health minister allays concerns in Parliament


Monkeypox cases: India has recorded seven monkeypox cases, and five of them have been reported from Kerala.

Union health minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday allayed concerns in Parliament shortly after India registered its seventh case of monkeypox with Kerala reporting a new case, taking the state tally to five. Assuring that India was taking a step-by-step approach, Dr Mandaviya said the disease “is not new”. "We are implementing best of the learnings that were gained due to coronavirus," he asserted, adding that "there was no need to fear the virus." "Awareness campaigns are being run by the government".

“Monkeypox is not a new disease in India and in the world. Since 1970, a lot of cases have been seen in the world from Africa. The WHO (World Health Organization) has paid special attention to this. Monitoring has started in India also,” he said.

The virus, which was earlier confined primarily to Africa, has been reported from at least 75 countries and territories this year. The WHO had recently declared a public health emergency. More than 22,000 cases have been registered globally.

“When cases started appearing in the world, India had already started preparations. Before the first case in Kerala, we had issued guidelines to all the states. We have written to the governments at the international level that the screening report of the travelers should also be sent to us,” the union health minister told Rajya Sabha.

"Monkeypox has been isolated by our scientists and the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) has also floated an 'expression of interest'. Like it was done during the time of Covid, on the basis of that, scientists who come forward should be given isolated virus so that its vaccine can be made," Dr Mandaviya told the upper house.

Recommending isolating patients for about two weeks, the health minister also said a central task force has been formed to study the virus and Kerala was being provided all the support needed. The southern state on Monday also reported India's first monkeypox death.

Globally, the United States is among the worst countries and Europe is the worst-affected region.

Published on Aug 02, 2022 01:52 PM IST

By Swati Bhasin, New Delhi


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