Monkeypox cases in Tamil Nadu? State health minister debunks ‘fake news’

New Delhi: Tamil Nadu health minister Ma Subramanian on Friday (July 29) debunked “fake news” of the southern state confirming cases of monkeypox virus. He said that “fake news” is being spread in the media about four cases being reported in Tamil Nadu’s Nagercoil city. “Not even a single monkeypox case in Tamil Nadu.  Fake news is circulating on social media that 4 monkeypox cases confirmed in Nagercoil. Don’t believe fake news. If we find any such case, we’ll tell media to make people aware of the disease,” Subramanian was quoted as saying by ANI. 

The Tamil Nadu health minister had told earlier that the government has ramped up screening of passengers at the four international airports in the state by selecting random two per cent of passengers who come from the affected countries. “We have set up mass fever-screening camps, and conduct saturation tests on passengers,” he said. Ma Subramanian also said the Centre has allowed the Tamil Nadu Health Department to carry out tests for detection of monkeypox virus at King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research in Chennai. 

India currently has four confirmed cases of monkeypox, three in Kerala and one in Delhi. Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency after over 16,000 cases were reported in 75 countries.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged men to reduce the number of sex partners and reconsider sex with new partners to curb exposure to the monkeypox virus. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “Although 98 per cent of cases so far are among men who have sex with men, anyone exposed can get monkeypox, which is why WHO recommends that countries take action to reduce the risk of transmission to other vulnerable groups, including children, pregnant women and those who are immunosuppressed.” He added, “For men who have sex with men, this includes for the moment, reducing your sexual partners.”

(With agency inputs)