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Friday June 14, 2024

Pakistan detects two monkeypox cases: health ministry

Person who has been infected with virus travelled from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, ministry officials say

By M. Waqar Bhatti
April 25, 2023
A monkeypox virion, obtained from a clinical sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. — AFP/File
A monkeypox virion, obtained from a clinical sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination confirmed Tuesday that Pakistan has detected its first two cases of monkeypox in people who travelled to the country from abroad.

Health ministry officials, talking to Geo News, said a person was deported from Saudi Arabia and landed in Pakistan on April 17 with symptoms of monkeypox. Meanwhile, another person sitting with him on the flight also exhibited symptoms of the mpox.

The samples of the people, whose identity has been kept confidential, were then sent to the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, and a day earlier, the facility confirmed that they were carriers of the infectious virus.

The officials added that the people are residents of either Rawalpindi or Islamabad, and their relatives are now being screened and asked to remain in quarantine to ensure the virus does not spread. The authorities have also begun contract tracing.

The person who was deported from Saudi Arabia has been shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in the federal capital and the other person is in quarantine at their home, while both of them are said to be in a stable condition.

They said that airports across the country have been put on high alert after the detection of the virus, while the ministry has sent NIH the samples of suspected patients.

Mpox (monkeypox) is a viral illness caused by the monkeypox virus, a species of the genus Orthopoxvirus. Two different clades exist — clade I and clade II.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the common symptoms of monkeypox or mpox are a skin rash or mucosal lesions which can last 2–4 weeks and are accompanied by fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, swollen lymph nodes.

Mpox can be transmitted to humans through physical contact with someone who is infectious, with contaminated materials, or with infected animals.

The disease is treated with supportive care. Vaccines and therapeutics developed for smallpox and approved for use in some countries can be used for mpox in some circumstances.

Since May 2022, a global outbreak of human monkeypox infections has been reported in over 78,000 people.