Health Ministry raises alarm on monkeypox, issues guidelines

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The Union Health Ministry 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. It stated – “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.”

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.

He further added that 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 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.