Kerala on Friday reported the country’s third case of monkeypox from the Malappuram district, ANI reported, citing state Health Minister Veena George. The previous two cases of the disease were also reported in Kerala.

George said the third patient who tested positive is a 35-year-old man, who had returned to Malappuram from the United Arab Emirates on July 6.

“He was admitted with fever at Manjerry Medical College Hospital on July 13 and from July 15 [as] he began showing symptoms,” the minister said. “His family and close contacts are under observation.”

His condition is stable, George added, according to PTI.

Monkeypox is a rare infection that is spread by wild animals like rodents and primates in parts of West or Central Africa, according to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.

The disease causes a mild illness and can result in symptoms such as high temperature, headache, backache and a chickenpox-like rash. The infection can spread if a person touches monkeypox skin blisters or uses clothing, bed sheets or towels of those suffering from the disease.

On Wednesday, the Kerala government had issued a standard operating procedure to treat monkeypox cases.

The first case of monkeypox in India was reported on July 14 after the infection was detected in a 35-year-old man who had returned to Kerala from the United Arab Emirates. The second case of the disease was detected in the state’s Kannur district on Monday.

WHO mulls calling monkeypox a global emergency

The World Health Organization on Thursday convened the second emergency committee meeting to assess the multi-country outbreak of monkeypox.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the considerations offered by the emergency committee during its first meeting, which was held a month ago, helped to “delineate the dynamics of this outbreak”.

The monkeypox outbreak that occurred in African countries at the beginning of this year has spread to several European and West Asian countries. The global health body has recorded more than 14,000 cases of the disease from 71 member states this year, Tedros noted.

“I remain concerned about the number of cases, in an increasing number of countries, that have been reported to WHO,” said Tedros. “As the outbreak develops, it is important to assess the effectiveness of public health interventions in different settings, to better understand what works, and what doesn’t.”

Tedros said the decision to declare monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern will be taken only after considering key factors.

Centre’s guidelines

On July 14, the Indian government told states and Union Territories to increase their vigil against the disease at international entry points, hospitals and other high-risk areas.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said that suspected patients should be screened and tested at points of entry and in the community. Isolating patients, providing symptomatic and supportive therapy and treatment for complications are among the measures that need to be taken to prevent deaths, he added.