Persons suspected to have contracted monkey pox infection should be isolated at designated health facilities and their samples sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for testing, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan has said.
Tamil Nadu’s Department of Health has issued an advisory to the Collectors and the Commissioner of the Greater Chennai Corporation, asking them to look out for persons displaying symptoms of the infection.
In the past several weeks, cases have been reported in Canada, Australia, the United States and some European countries. People who had travelled to African countries, such as Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo and Nigeria, had returned with the infection, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said in its advisory.
In a letter, Dr. Radhakrishnan has shared the advisory on the infection from the National Centre for Disease Control under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, besides the event summary from the WHO.
He said public health officials had been sensitised to the infection. Health facilities should “keep heightened suspicion” for people who presented themselves with unexplained rash and those who had travelled, 21 days prior to the occurrence of rash, to a country with the recently confirmed or suspected cases or had come in contact with infected persons. Such cases should be isolated at designated health facilities and the patients should be reported to the district surveillance officer of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme. Samples should be sent to the National Institute of Virology.
In the event of a person testing positive, health officers must immediately trace and identify all persons that the infected person had come in contact with in the past 21 days. While taking samples, health officials must follow the safety protocol.
Dr. Radhakrishnan also urged the officials to update themselves about the advisory and ensure that surveillance was followed scrupulously.