Thailand raises monkey pox preparedness level

Monkey pox (monkeypox) is now classified as a communicable disease that requires close monitoring in Thailand.

Test measures are being stepped up to curb the possible spread of this viral disease, although no cases have been detected in the country so far, the Ministry of Public Health said on Wednesday (May 25).

The ministry’s academic committee on Tuesday made the decision to upgrade the status of monkey poop, Dr. Chakrarat Pittayawonganon, Director of the Department of Disease Control’s (DDC) Office of Epidemiology.

However, the disease has not yet been classified as a dangerous communicable disease, like Covid-19, as no cases have been recorded since Thailand began screening international arrivals on Tuesday.

Also, the disease is much less transmissible than the new coronavirus, he added.

“In fact, Thailand has never registered a case of monkey pox,” said Dr. Chakra.

Although most infected people recover quickly without medical intervention, some may have severe symptoms, including immunocompromised children, he added.

Complications can then include serious infections in the lungs, brain, bloodstream and corneas, he added.

The World Health Organization’s records show that there are 131 confirmed cases of monkey pox and 106 suspected cases in 19 countries.

The virus can be classified into two biological groups: the West African clade and the Central African clade.

The former is significantly less lethal with a mortality rate of 1% compared to 10% for the Central African blot, said Dr. Chakra.

Screening test in preparation

Professor Wasun Chantratita, director of the Center for Medical Genomics at Mahidol University School of Medicine at Ramathibodi Hospital, said the first test kit for monkey pox is expected to be available in two weeks.

The center is developing it based on genetic information sequenced from samples recently taken from infected patients in Portugal and Belgium, said Dr. Wasun.

While waiting for the new test kit, which will give results in 24 hours, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is now the main option, but it involves two to four days of waiting time, he said.

Strengthening control

Dr. Wasun called for strict screening of travelers arriving in Thailand from certain high-risk areas, such as parts of southern Europe and Africa.

Measures should also be taken to control animals, especially rodents, imported from Africa, he added.

Dr. Opas Karnkawanpong, director general of DDC, said the department screened international arrivals through the Pass Thailand system after an increase in the number of monkey cups in several countries.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, meanwhile, has issued a warning against smuggling wild animals into Thailand as they may be ignorant hosts of the virus, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said.

General Prayut also instructed officials to strengthen anti-smuggling measures at the borders.

Chiang Mai Airport has also begun screening passengers arriving on some international flights, airport manager Wichit Kaeosaithiam said on Wednesday.

See: Thailand’s airports on high alert for monkey pox

The Ministry of Public Health advises anyone traveling from Thailand to Europe or Africa to exercise extreme caution, avoid crowded places, wash hands frequently and always wear a mask in public. .

Most confirmed cases in Europe this month have been in the UK, Portugal and Spain.

Some reports have linked a cluster of cases in Spain to a gay sauna.

So far, nearly 20 countries where the disease is not endemic have reported outbreaks.

Source: Bangkok Post

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