WHO declared the ongoing monkeypox outbreak as a global health emergency on 23-07 2022. The current outbreak started in May 2022, and to date, 16,836 cases are reported in 74 countries across the globe. In India, 3 cases from Kerala and 1 case from New Delhi have already been reported as monkeypox.
Major General Dr. Vibha Dutta, SM, Director, AIIMS Nagpur, informed that the Viral Research Diagnosis Laboratory (VRDL), under the Department of Microbiology, has been appointed as the nodal laboratory for testing samples of suspected monkeypox cases by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi.
Dr. Meena Mishra, Professor, and Head, Principal Investigator of VRDL, Department of Microbiology, AIIMS, Nagpur, informed that ICMR has provided the Real-Time PCR kit for detection of monkeypox and that the entire staff has obtained training and the laboratory is fully equipped with equipment’s, kits and reagents to detect the monkeypox cases from the samples of the suspected cases that will be received for diagnosis.
Dr. Meena Mishra explained that a suspected case of monkeypox is a person presenting with an unexplained acute rash, headache, fever, swollen lymph nodes, muscle pain/body aches, weakness, etc. Similarly, a person with a history of contact with a probable or confirmed case of monkeypox, travel history to a monkeypox endemic country, or has had multiple/anonymous sexual partners in the past 21 days, also needs to be tested for monkeypox.
Various samples such as lesion fluid, lesion base scrapping, lesion crust, blood and urine samples, and nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs, will be processed for the detection of monkeypox. As monkeypox is associated with various complications such as corneal infections leading to loss of vision, secondary bacterial infections, pneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis, etc., especially in the high-risk groups comprising pregnant women, children and the immunocompromised, including HIV, the laboratory diagnosis of monkeypox is very important.