Thai health ministry sets up monkeypox monitoring centre

PHOTO: World Health Organisation

Thailand is creating a new emergency centre to monitor the spread of monkeypox, which has now been detected in at least 12 countries, although in very small numbers at this stage. The Bangkok Post reports that Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, virologist and director-general of the ministry’s Department of Disease Control says Thai health officials are closely monitoring the outbreak, even if the virus has not yet been reported here.

According to Dr. Opas, following the recent easing of travel restrictions, Thailand now needs to be on alert, particularly when it comes to visitors from areas in Africa where monkeypox is endemic. To date, the virus has been reported in the US, Australia, and Canada, as well as in several European countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. To date, over 100 cases have been reported in Europe.

The DDC says humans can contract monkeypox through close contact with an infected person or animal. The virus can be found in a variety of rodents and in primates. Human-to-human transmission is limited, but can occur through body fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated materials. However, scientists say this virus is unlikely to result in another pandemic.

At this stage a lot of the human-to-human transmission has happened through sexual contact.

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The symptoms of monkeypox include a fever, rash, body aches, fatigue, headache, and swollen lymph nodes, and can last between 2 and 4 weeks. Lesions, the ‘pox’ part of the name, will often fester, then slowly dry up and disappear in between the second and third week.

Whilst monkeypox is rarely lethal, one variant of the disease has a fatality rate of around 10%, with deaths mostly occurring as a result of lung or brain inflammation and dehydration.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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