Thailand raises monkeypox alert level to “requiring close surveillance”

PHOTO: World Health Organisation

The Public Health Ministry has raised its alert level for the monkeypox virus, classifying it as a communicable disease requiring close surveillance. This is despite no cases of the virus having been reported in the country to date.

However, according to a Bangkok Post report, Dr Chakrarat Pittayawonganon from the Department of Disease Control says the virus is far less contagious than Covid-19. Scientists have already stated the current outbreak is unlikely to become a pandemic.

Most monkeypox patients recover in a matter of weeks, without the need for medical treatment. However, Chakrarat says that some, particularly immunocompromised children, can develop severe symptoms. These in turn can lead to complications such as serious infection of the lungs, brain, bloodstream, or corneas.

According to Dr Wasun Chantratita, from Mahidol University’s Faculty of Medicine at Ramathibodi Hospital, a test kit for monkeypox should be ready in around 2 weeks. The kit is being developed using genetic information sequenced from the virus specimens of patients in Portugal and Belgium. In the interim, he says PCR testing is the main method for detecting monkeypox infections, but that involves a wait time of 2 – 4 days.

Data from the World Health Organisation shows there are 131 confirmed monkeypox cases and 101 suspected cases, in 19 countries.

DDC chief, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, says Thailand is using the Thailand Pass system to screen international travellers from countries where monkeypox has been reported. To date, most of Europe’s confirmed infections have been in the UK, Portugal, and Spain.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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