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Suryakant Jena

The Odisha government is fully alert after the Centre’s interim advisory raising alertness to keep a close watch on the monkeypox situation, in wake of rapid surge in the viral cases abroad.

State Health director Bijay Mohapatra on Saturday said there has been no reports of any monkeypox cases in Odisha or anywhere else in the country now, however, the government has asked the States to maintain caution as the chances of this disease occurring in India cannot be ruled out.

The government has dispatched advisory to ICDC and ICMR to keep a close watch on the situation and send samples to NIV Pune only in cases where people are found displaying certain specific symptoms of the disease.

The Health Ministry has suggested the following public actions to be followed to increase surveillance against the disease. 

Health facilities to keep heightened suspicion in people who:

a. Exhibits an otherwise unexplained rash 

b. Have travelled, in the last 21 days, to a country that has recently had confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox or

c. Reports contact with a person or people with confirmed or suspected monkeypox 

All suspected cases are to be isolated at designated healthcare facilities until all lesions have resolved and a fresh layer of skin has formed OR until the treating physician decides to end isolation. 

All such patients are to be reported to the District Surveillance Officer of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.

All infection control practices are to be followed while treating such patients.

Laboratory samples consisting of fluid from vesicles, blood, sputum etc are to be sent to NIV Pune for Monkeypox testing in case of suspicion.

In case a positive case is detected, contact tracing has to be initiated immediately to identify the contacts of the patient in the last 21 days.

Keypoints about the disease

As per a statement issued by the Health Ministry, there are a set of key points that the public needs to know about the Monkeypox disease.

• Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.

• It typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications.

• Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Case fatality rate may vary from 1-10%

• Monkeypox can be transmitted from Animal to Human as well as human to human. The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth). 

• Animal-to-human transmission may occur by bite or scratch, bush meat preparation, direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, or indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated bedding. 

• Human-to-human transmission is thought 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.

• The clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980. Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness.

• Incubation period is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days and the person is usually not contagious during this period. 

• An infected person may transmit the disease from 1-2 days before the appearance of the rash and remain contagious till all the scabs fall off.

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