New Delhi: A day after India registered its first monkeypox case, the Union Health Ministry on Friday issued guidelines for the management of the disease.
The first laboratory-confirmed case of monkeypox was reported from Kerala’s Kollam district after which the Union Health Ministry rushed a multi-disciplinary team of experts on Thursday.
Surveillance and rapid identification of new cases is critical for outbreak containment, the guidelines said, adding that during human monkeypox outbreaks, close contact with infected persons is the most significant risk factor for monkeypox virus infection.
It added further that health workers and household members are at a greater risk of infection. Health workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed monkeypox virus infection, or handling specimens from them, should implement standard infection control and precautions.
International passengers should also avoid contact with contaminated materials used by sick people such as clothing, bedding or materials used in healthcare settings, or that came into contact with infected animals, the guidelines said.
In addition, people who develop symptoms suggestive of monkeypox like fever and skin rash and were in an area where monkeypox has been reported or had come in contact with a person who might have monkeypox have been advised to immediately consult the nearest health facility.
“The key measures that can be taken to prevent infection with monkeypox virus is to isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection. Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a patient of monkeypox. Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected persons,” the guidelines said.
About mode of transmission, the guidelines said that human-to-human transmission is known to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets generally requiring a prolonged close contact. It can also be transmitted through direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens of an infected person, it added.
The guidelines further added that animal-to-human transmission may occur by bite or scratch of infected animals like small mammals including rodents (rats, squirrels) and non-human primates (monkeys, apes) or through bush meat preparation.