Health Ministry releases guidelines for battling Monkeypox outbreak

New-Delhi: In the wake of rising cases of Monkeypox in the country, the Union Health Ministry has released guidelines to prevent the spread of the disease.

The Ministry, in its official communication, informed that there was no reported case of the Monkeypox virus in India till May 31, 2022. However, India needs to be prepared in view of the increasing reports of cases in non-endemic countries.

The Ministry further laid down guidelines for proper monitoring of those who came in contact with the infected person.

1. Contacts should be monitored at least daily for the onset of signs/symptoms for a period of 21 days (as per case definition above) from the last contact with a patient or their contaminated materials during the infectious period. In case of occurrence of fever clinical/lab evaluation is warranted.

2. Asymptomatic contacts should not donate blood, cells, tissue, organs or semen while they are under surveillance.

3.  Pre-school children may be excluded from day care, nursery, or other group settings.

4. Health workers who have unprotected exposures to patients with monkeypox or possibly contaminated materials do not need to be excluded from work duty if asymptomatic, but should undergo active surveillance for symptoms for 21 days.

Measures to prevent infection with monkeypox virus 

1. Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick person.

2. Isolate infected patients from others.

3. Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

4. Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients.

5. Surveillance and rapid identification of new cases is critical for outbreak containment. During human Monkeypox outbreaks, close contact with infected persons is the most significant risk factor for monkeypox virus infection. Health workers and household members are at a greater risk of infection.

6. Health workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed monkeypox virus infection, or handling specimens from them, should implement standard infection control precautions. Samples taken from people and animals with suspected monkeypox virus infection should be handled by trained staff working in suitably equipped laboratories. Patient specimens must be safely prepared for transport with triple packaging in accordance with WHO guidance for transport of infectious substances.

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