Monkeypox: Karnataka ups surveillance at airports

Those with symptoms to be isolated; Virus can spread from contact with bodily fluids such as saliva from coughing
Monkeypox: Karnataka ups surveillance at airports

BENGALURU: With Monkeypox cases being reported from nearly 12 countries, the Karnataka government has asked the airports to be vigilant and isolate sick persons travelling from affected countries with symptoms or history of the disease. An interim advisory informing the disease symptoms and instructions has been sent by the health department officials under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP).

“Any traveller from the risk countries if they present with an otherwise unexplained rash or have travelled to these countries which have reported confirmed or suspected cases in the last 21 days or have come in contact with a person or people with confirmed or suspected Monkeypox should be isolated at designated health facilities,” the advisory read.

The cases that have been reported worldwide are both due to local transmission and also due to travel to African countries. As a proactive approach, the National Centre for Disease Control, MoHFW, has identified several public health actions to be initiated in the event of suspected cases being reported from India.

It has been advised that such patients should be reported to the District Surveillance Officer of IDSP. “While all infection control practices are to be followed while treating such patients, laboratory samples consisting of fluid from vesicles, blood, sputum etc need to be sent to NIV, Pune, for Monkeypox testing in case of suspicion,” the release added.

Meanwhile, if the samples test positive, then contact tracing has to be initiated immediately to identify the contacts of the patient in the last 21 days. The isolation of such persons will end only after lesions have resolved and a fresh layer of skin has formed or until the treating physician decides to end isolation. “Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications,” the release stated.

Meanwhile speaking to TNSE, Dr Bindumathi PL Senior Consultant - Internal Medicine, Aster CMI Hospital, says that though the virus doesn’t spread easily between people and the risk to wider spread is low, World Health Organisation has stated that it can spread from close contact with bodily fluids such as saliva from coughing, close contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or recently contaminated objects.

Dr Manohar KN, Consultant Internal Medicine Physician, Manipal Hospital, Old Aiport Road, says, “Monkeypox as of now has no vaccine. The original first-generation smallpox vaccines are no longer available to the general public. Also, a newer vaccinia based vaccine was approved for the prevention of Monkeypox in 2019 but that is not yet widely available.”

It is caused by a smallpox-like virus which is from the same family of virus-Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. It was discovered in 1958 when outbreaks of a disease causing a pox were discovered in monkeys held in captivity for research. It was first seen in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Repoublic of the Congo and it is now endemic in central and west Africa.

It causes pustules all over the body. Symptoms appear between 5 and 13 days after infection. It can take up to 21 days to appear. Early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. Once fever appears, rash tends to erupt first on the face, hands and feet before spreading to other areas. Mouth ulcers are also reported.

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