Health Ministry raises alarm on monkeypox, issues guidelines

The Union Health Ministry on Thursday asked states to increase surveillance on monkeypox, which has been reported in many countries across the world.

In a letter to the states and UTs, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reiterated that there should be a rigorous surveillance system at all points of entry to quickly identify and isolate suspected cases.

“Continued expansion of spread of monkeypox disease globally calls for proactive strengthening and operationalisation of requisite public health actions for preparedness and response against the disease in lndia also,” he wrote.

The Centre, in the letter, has said that orientation and regular re-orientation of all key stakeholders including health screening teams at points of entry, disease surveillance teams, and doctors working in hospitals about common signs and symptoms, differential diagnosis, case definitions for suspects, probable or confirmed cases should be carried out.

It has asked states to screen and test all suspect cases either through hospital-based surveillance or targeted surveillance under measles surveillance or intervention sites identified by the National AIDS Control Organisation for MSM (men having sex with men) and FSW (female sex worker) population groups.

“Patient isolation (until all lesions have resolved and scabs have completely fallen off), protection of ulcers, symptomatic and supportive therapies, continued monitoring and timely treatment of complications remain the key measures to prevent mortality,” Bhushan said in the letter.

Intensive risk communication directed at healthcare workers, identified sites in health facilities (such as skin, paediatric OPDS, immunisation clinics, intervention sites identified by NACO, etc.) as well as the general public about simple preventive strategies and the need for prompt reporting of cases needs to be undertaken, he underlined.

“Hospitals must be identified and adequate human resource and logistic support should be ensured at identified hospitals equipped to manage suspected cases of monkeypox,” he added.

He noted that as per World Health Organisation (WHO), from January 1 to June 22, a total of 3,413 laboratory confirmed cases of monkeypox and one death have been reported from 50 countries and territories.

Majority of these cases have been reported from the European Region (86 per cent) and the Americas (11 per cent). This points to a slow but sustained increase in spread of cases globally, said the Health Ministry.




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