The Thai government is taking precautions to screen incoming travellers from countries with monkeypox outbreaks in hopes of preventing its spread in the kingdom. Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul reported that his ministry is coordinating airport screening and focusing on people travelling from countries that are struggling with a monkeypox outbreak.
The deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control has asked for airports around the countries to step up efforts of their quarantine offices and increase screening of foreign arrivals from countries with monkeypox spread. By the end of this week, 138 travellers from Africa and 2389 travellers from Europe have been screened for monkeypox, though no infections have been found so far.
Anutin reassured people that monkeypox is not nearly as serious or contagious as the Covid-19 pandemic the world just suffered through, but it’s still important to try to avoid its continued spread. Unlike Coronavirus, monkeypox cannot be transmitted without direct content of lesions or bodily fluid, or extended contact with someone infected. And once contaminated, the infection may be uncomfortable, but most people can recover at home with a low risk of death.
Still, the authorities are pushing both to be proactive in preventing the spread, and testing and reporting possible infections, with health authorities increasing education campaigns. Sexually active people, especially those who have multiple sex partners, are the most at risk since monkeypox is spread through close physical contact.
The World Health Organisation reported that sexual contact between two men is still the most common source of transmission, and suggests gay and bisexual men try to reduce their number of sexual partners until the global outbreak has slowed to keep themselves safe and prevent further spread.
Thailand has found two confirmed cases of monkeypox so far. The first was a dramatic tale of a 27 year old Nigerian man who was diagnosed on July 18 in Phuket and fled the country by swimming into Cambodia where he was arrested in Phnom Penh. More than 50 people have been tested for monkeypox after coming into contact with that man, and so far no new infections have been found.
The second infection was completely unrelated and found in a 47 year old Thai man who reported that he developed symptoms on July 15 after he had sex with a European man, who health authorities are still searching for. Some 16 of the 17 people identified as having come in contact with that Thai man have tested negative for monkeypox with one test still pending.
Anyone feared to have been exposed to monkeypox is being placed in a three-week quarantine to avoid possible spread. Vaccines are in development, with many believing that old smallpox vaccines may be effective against a similar disease. Vaccines that become available will be allotted for frontline workers and healthcare professionals first to immunize them when treating any possible outbreaks.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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