Geneva: WHO South-East Asia Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said that the region has been on alert for monkeypox and that nations have been taking steps to diagnose it quickly and prevent its spread. “The region has been on alert for monkeypox. Countries have been taking measures to rapidly detect and take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of monkeypox,” she said.
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Monkeypox requires collective attention and coordinated action to stop its further spread. In addition to using public health measures and ensuring health tools are available to at-risk populations and shared fairly, it is important to work with communities to ensure that people who are most at risk, have the information and support they need to protect themselves and others, the Regional Director added.
Notably, the first case of monkeypox in WHO South-East Asia Region has been reported from India, in a 35-year old man who arrived from the Middle East earlier this week.
WHO has been supporting member countries in the region to assess the risk for monkeypox and strengthen their capacities to prepare and respond to the evolving multi-country outbreak, she said.
Over 6,000 cases of monkeypox and three deaths have been reported across 60 countries since the beginning of the year. More cases can be expected as surveillance expands, a WHO press release read.
Also Read: Emergency Nature Of Monkeypox Requires Intense Response Efforts: WHO
Globally, and in the Region, the risk is assessed as moderate. WHO convened a meeting of the Emergency Committee on June 23, 2022 to seek expert advice if the ongoing outbreak was a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
The committee recommended intense response to curtail the spread of the ongoing outbreak, in view of low population immunity against pox virus infection and risk of further sustained transmission into the wider population. The next meeting of the Emergency Committee has been convened on 21 July.
WHO has been sharing guidance for raising awareness; surveillance, case investigation and contact tracing; laboratory diagnostics and testing; clinical management and infection prevention and control; and community engagement, the Regional Director said.
In view of the limited testing capacities in the Region for monkeypox, WHO has coordinated with four laboratories to serve as referrals – National Institute of Virology, India; Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, Australia; National Institute of Health, Department of Medical Sciences, Thailand; and Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.
Also Read: Monkeypox Outbreak A Public Health Emergency Of Global Concern: World Health Network
WHO is also supporting countries in the Region build testing capacities with technical assistance as well as procurement of required provisions that are high in demand and low in supplies globally.
Orienting clinicians in both public and private sectors to identify and report as well as appropriately treat cases of monkeypox, are among other the key priorities, as per the press release.
Monkeypox virus is transmitted from infected animals to humans via indirect or direct contact. Human-to-human transmission can occur through direct contact with infectious skin or lesions, including face-to-face, skin-to-skin, and respiratory droplets.
In the current outbreak countries and amongst the reported monkeypox cases, transmission appears to be occurring primarily through close physical contact, including sexual contact. Transmission can also occur from contaminated materials such as linens, bedding, electronics, clothing, that have infectious skin particles.
Also Read: Monkeypox Explained: From Symptoms To Risk Factors, Here’s Everything You Need To Know
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.