As Monkeypox infections top 300 in countries where the disease is not known to spread, the Union Government on Tuesday issued guidelines on the management of Monkeypox in states and union territories. which emphasize surveillance and prevention measures, such as rapid contact tracing, isolation and containment of suspected Monkeypox cases.
Even a single infection should be treated as an outbreak and a detailed investigation through the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program should be initiated, according to the “Guidelines for the Management of Monkeypox”.
In the guidelines, the Union Health Ministry has emphasized surveillance and rapid identification of new cases as key public health measures to contain the outbreak. The guidelines impose the need to reduce the risk of human-to-human transmission.
The Ministry of Health has said that India needs to be prepared considering the increase in reported cases in non-endemic countries, even though no cases of Monkeypox virus have been reported in the country so far.
What measures are proposed?
The guidelines explain infection prevention and control measures, patient isolation, ambulance transfer strategies and additional precautions to take. It lists the following measures:
- Contacts should be monitored at least daily for signs and symptoms for 21 days from the last contact with a patient or their contaminated equipment.
- The guidelines proposed a surveillance strategy to rapidly identify cases, clusters of infections and sources of infections as soon as possible in order to isolate cases to prevent onward transmission.
- The aim will be to provide optimal clinical care, identify and manage contacts and protect frontline health workers.
- Then, effective control and prevention measures based on the identified transmission routes will be implemented.
How are cases confirmed?
All clinical specimens should be transported to the state-of-the-art laboratory at ICMR-NIV Pune through the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program network of the respective district or state.
There, Monkeypox infection would be confirmed either by a PCR test or by sequencing.
Focus on awareness
The guidelines state that preventive measures include avoiding contact with any material of the sick person, isolating the infected patient from others, practicing good hand hygiene and using appropriate personal protective equipment when caring for patients.
Although this may sound similar to the transmission of Covid-19, it is different because Monkeypox is spread with prolonged and very close contact with an infected person or material, rather than through the air like the coronavirus.
Healthline reports, “It’s usually through prolonged face-to-face contact and large respiratory droplets. It can happen if you’re within 6 feet of someone who has it for three hours or more.”
Most patients with monkeypox only experience fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue. People with more severe illness may develop a rash and sores on the face and hands that may spread to other parts of the body.
Worldwide spread of Monkeypox
Even though Monkeypox infections have been reported in more than 20 countries that are not known to have outbreaks of Monkeypox, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said the virus does not appear to have the potential to cause an outbreak. pandemic.
Dr Rosamund Lewis, WHO’s technical lead for monkeypox, said: “The answer is that we don’t know, but we don’t think so. At the moment we are not concerned about a global pandemic. [from Monkeypox].”
No deaths have been reported in the current outbreak.
(With PTI, AP inputs)