The Indian Council of Medical Research may conduct a sero-survey among contacts of monkeypox patients to check for the presence of antibodies and find out how many of them were asymptomatic, official sources said Friday.
As of now, it is not known what is the proportion of people who stay asymptomatic of the viral infection, they said.
India so far has reported ten cases of monkeypox.
“We are thinking of conducting a sero-survey among close contacts of monkeypox-affected people in India to check for the presence of antibodies in them.
“The idea is to find out how many of them contracted the disease due to exposure to the infected and did not show symptoms. The discussions are at a very nascent stage as of now,” a source said.
According to WHO, monkeypox is a viral zoonosis – a virus transmitted to humans from animals – with symptoms similar to smallpox although clinically less severe.
Monkeypox typically manifests itself with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications. It is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting for two to four weeks.
The ‘Guidelines on Management of Monkeypox Disease’ issued by the Centre stated that human-to-human transmission occurs primarily through large respiratory droplets generally requiring prolonged close contact.
It can also be transmitted through direct contact with body fluids or lesions, and indirect contact with lesion material such as through contaminated clothing or linen of an infected person. Animal-to-human transmission may occur by bite or scratch of infected animals or through bushmeat preparation.
The incubation period is usually from six to 13 days and the case fatality rate of monkeypox has historically ranged up to 11 per cent in the general population and higher among children. In recent times, the case fatality rate has been around 3 to 6 per cent.
The symptoms include lesions which usually begin within one to three days from the onset of fever, lasting for around two to four weeks and are often described as painful until the healing phase when they become itchy. A notable predilection for palm and soles is characteristic of monkeypox, the guidelines stated.
The World Health Organisation has declared monkeypox a global public health emergency of international concern.