The World Health Organization (WHO) is collaborating with its partners to determine the scope and source of a monkeypox outbreak. While no cases have been recorded in India, the Indian government is keeping an eye on worldwide evidence and has warned its testing facilities to be on the lookout for any cases that may arise.
So far, 80 instances have been confirmed, with another 50 under investigation. As surveillance expands, more incidents are expected to be reported.
WHO is collaborating with affected nations and others to expand disease surveillance in order to identify and assist people who may be impacted, as well as provide advice on how to manage the disease.
“We continue to convene meetings of experts and technical advisory groups (such as the meeting today of the Strategic & Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Hazards with Pandemic and Epidemic Potential [STAG-IH]) to share information on the disease and response strategies,” said WHO in a press statement.
As the situation develops, WHO will continue to give updates as new information becomes available.
“The virus is endemic in some animal populations in a number of countries, leading to occasional outbreaks among local people and travelers. The recent outbreaks reported across 11 countries so far are atypical, as they are occurring in non-endemic countries,” WHO said in a statement.
COVID-19 and monkeypox spread in various ways. WHO advises individuals to be informed about the magnitude of the outbreak in their neighbourhood (if any), symptoms, and prevention from credible sources such as national health agencies.
Because monkeypox is spread through intimate contact, the focus of the response should be on the people who have been infected and their close contacts.
“People who closely interact with someone who is infectious are at greater risk for infection: this includes health workers, household members and sexual partners,” it said.
Meanwhile, the Indian government is watchful and closely monitoring global statistics from other countries. The Union Health Ministry has asked the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the National Center for Disease Control, and airport authorities to keep a close eye on the issue.
Dr Samiran Panda, Additional Director General of ICMR said, “So far, no case of Monekypox has been identified in India. But we have to be cautious and there should be no panic and if there are any cases, we have Biosafety Laboratory (BSL)- 4 and laboratory SOPs in place.”