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Thailand’s Airports Step Screening for Monkeypox

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Thailand’s health officials have said monkeypox is now viewed as a communicable disease with a high level of surveillance needed.

The Ministry of Public Health said Wednesday that screening measures would be taken to prevent the spread of the viral disease. Even though no cases have been detected in the country so far, this is true.

On Tuesday, Dr. Chakrarat Pittayawonganon, director of the Bureau of Epidemiology at the Department of Disease Control (DDC), said that the ministry’s academic committee decided to upgrade the status of monkeypox.

Although there have been no recorded cases since Thailand began screening international arrivals on Tuesday, it has yet to be classified as a dangerous communicable disease like Covid-19.

He said the disease is also far less contagious than the novel coronavirus. There have never been monkeypox cases in Thailand, according to Dr. Chakrarat.

Read: Monkeypox is Different From COVID-19, Experts Says

Most people infected with the virus recover without medical intervention, but some suffer severe symptoms, especially immunocompromised children.

He added that serious infections could occur in the lungs, brain, bloodstream, and corneas as a result.

Among 19 countries, there are 131 confirmed cases of monkeypox and 106 suspected cases, according to WHO records.

There are two main biological groups of the virus: the West African clade and the Central African clade.

Dr. Chakrarat explained that the Central African Clade has a mortality rate of 10%, while the former has a mortality rate of 1%.

According to Prof. Dr. Wasun Chantratita of the Centre for Medical Genomics at Mahidol University’s Ramathibodi Hospital, the first monkeypox test kit should be available in two weeks.

Read: Thai Hospitals Stop Using China Made Test Kits

The center is developing it based on genetic information sequenced from specimens taken recently from infected patients in Portugal and Belgium, said Dr. Wasun.

According to him, PCR testing is now the main option. However, two to four days of waiting time are required while waiting for a brand-new new test kit, which will provide results in 24 hours.

Dr. Wasun has called for the strict screening of travelers arriving in Thailand from certain high-risk areas such as parts of southern Europe and Africa.

Additionally, he said, screening should be done for animals brought in from Africa, especially rodents.

In response to a rise in monkeypox infections in several countries, Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the DDC, said the department is screening international arrivals through the Thailand Pass system.

Meanwhile, Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha warned against bringing wild animals into Thailand because they could be unwitting hosts to the virus.

Screening of Foreign Arrivals

General Prayut also instructed officials to step up border anti-smuggling.

On Wednesday, Wichit Kaeosaithiam, airport director of Chiang Mai, reported that the airport has started to screen passengers arriving on some international flights.

The Ministry of Public Health advises travelers from Thailand to Europe and Africa to exercise extreme caution, avoid crowded areas, frequently wash their hands, and always wear a face-covering in public places.

This month, the most confirmed cases in Europe in the United Kingdom, Portugal, and Spain have been confirmed.

According to some reports, a cluster of cases in Spain has been linked to a gay sauna. So far, nearly 20 countries where the disease is not endemic have reported outbreaks.

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