Ministry reviews measures as two confirmed cases of monkeypox reported; emphasizes the importance of minimizing the risk of importation
The Union Health Ministry of India held a crucial meeting to review the health screening protocols for international travellers arriving in the country, in response to the recent emergence of two confirmed cases of monkeypox. This infectious disease, caused by a viral zoonosis, poses a serious concern to public health.
The most recent case involves a 31-year-old man from Kannur, Kerala, who tested positive for monkeypox after returning from Dubai. The earlier case was detected in Kerala’s Kollam district, where a 35-year-old individual who had returned from the UAE was found to be infected with monkeypox.
In an effort to support the state health authorities, the Union Health Ministry had dispatched a high-level multi-disciplinary team to Kerala, aiming to implement appropriate public health measures. Following this, the Ministry convened a meeting attended by airport and port health officers (APHOs and PHOs), regional directors from health and family welfare offices, and senior officials from the International Health Division and Disaster Management Cell.
Health officers advised to coordinate with stakeholders, follow guidelines, and streamline screening processes at airports and ports
During the meeting, health officers were advised to ensure strict health screening for all international travellers. The primary objective is to minimize the risk of importing monkeypox cases into the country. They were re-oriented on the clinical presentation of monkeypox disease, following the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health.
The health officers were also instructed to coordinate with other stakeholder agencies, such as Immigration at international ports and airports, in order to streamline the health screening process. Additionally, they were advised to establish suitable linkages with designated hospital facilities at each port of entry, ensuring timely referral and isolation when necessary.
Union Health Ministry emphasizes strict health screening for international travellers
Monkeypox typically presents with symptoms including fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes, often leading to a range of medical complications. Human-to-human transmission primarily occurs through large respiratory droplets or direct contact with body fluids or lesion material. Animal-to-human transmission may occur through bites or scratches from infected animals.