Chandigarh: Amid monkeypox fear, PGI told to keep a close watch

NCDC issues advisory; no case reported from country so far

Chandigarh: Amid monkeypox fear, PGI told to keep a close watch

Tribune News Service

Naina Mishra

Chandigarh, May 24

Amid growing concerns over the spread of monkeypox around the globe, the PGI has been told to “keep a watch” on such cases.

Monkeypox has not been reported from India, but with new cases being detected in various countries, chances of the disease spreading to India cannot be ruled out. 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 (NCDC), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has identified several public health actions to be initiated in the event of suspected cases being reported from India.

An NCDC advisory has asked the public health authorities for heightened suspicion in people present with an otherwise unexplained rash and those who have travelled in the past 21 days to a country that has recently reported confirmed or suspected monkeypox cases. Recently, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has designated a 20-bed ward for isolation of monkeypox cases.

Dr Vivek Lal, PGI Director, said, “We are going to follow the advisory of the Government of India in this regard as far as reservation of exclusive beds for the disease is concerned. So far, we have been told to keep a close watch through surveillance.”

Laboratory samples of suspected monkeypox virus cases consisting of fluids from blood, vesicles and blood have to be sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune.

Dr Arunaloke Chakraborty, former Head of Microbiology, PGI, said, “We need not be worried about monkeypox as it is a self-limiting disease, but what we need to focus on is to teach doctors about surveillance of the disease. It has been 50 years ever since smallpox was treated as a disease and now doctors do not have first-hand experience of it. Monkeypox is similar to smallpox, but it is less contagious because the virus is still trying to adapt to human body slowly. The rising temperature is allowing the virus to adapt to higher temperature and we may notice such outbreaks in future which involves humans. The way people are travelling and maintaining close contact, the spread of the disease to India cannot be ruled out.”

“We should be able to give right training to doctors who would be tracking such cases and need not spread panic among the public,” said Dr Chakraborty.

Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets generally requiring a prolonged close contact. It can also be transmitted through direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens of an infected person.

The clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980. Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness.

Yashpal Garg, UT Health Secretary, said the Administration would take adequate measures at the appropriate time. So far, there was nothing be concerned about, said Garg.

About the disease

Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions

Fever | Rash | Swollen lymph nodes may lead to a range of medical complications

  • Symptoms lasting from two to four weeks. Severe cases can occur. Case fatality rate may vary from 1-10%
  • Incubation period is usually seven to 14 days, but can range from five to 21 days and the person is usually not contagious during this period
  • An infected person may transmit the disease from one to two days before appearance of the rash and remain contagious till all scabs fall off

Docspeak

We will collect and send samples to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, if there are suspected cases — Prof Mini P Singh, Virology Department, PGI

#monkeypox #PGI

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