Monkeypox in Kerala: Alleged failings in contact tracing

A day after the country’s first case of monkeypox was confirmed in a native of Kollam, the district medical office has come under fire for major shortcomings in diagnosis and contact tracing.

According to collector Afsana Parveen, the patient traveled to a private hospital in an autorickshaw and then hired a taxi to go to Government Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram. Speaking to the media on Friday, Ms Parveen added that the DMO could not trace the details of car and taxi drivers even after two days.

Incomplete contact list

The Kollam DMO had earlier issued a statement that the patient, accompanied by his mother, traveled to the private hospital in a paid taxi from the airport. He also said he was referred to the infectious diseases department at the Government Medical College Hospital in Kollam.

Later it was revealed that the patient never visited MCH, Kollam and the protocol was not followed. According to reports, the patient came into contact with many other people, including family members, and the roadmap and contact list prepared by the service were incomplete.

Also read: The Hindu’s editorial on monkeypox cases in India

Charges on protocol

Meanwhile, a blame game broke out with the DMO accusing the private hospital of not reporting the case in time. But according to the private hospital, all guidelines were followed and the patient was referred to Children’s Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram as per DMO instructions. “The patient came with his parents around 5 p.m. on Tuesday and symptoms included fever and rash. He was referred to the dermatologist in the general medicine department. As the patient was an international traveler with symptoms, he was reported as a suspected case of After DMO issued guidelines, the patient was sent to Thiruvananthapuram at around 7 p.m.,” hospital officials said.