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Pakistan reports 4th mpox case

May 21, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Health authorities in Pakistan Saturday confirmed fourth case of Mpox when a girl who arrived from Makkah, Saudi Arabia was tested positive for the infectious disease.

“A 19-year-old girl, who arrived from Makkah today, was brought to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Infectious Diseases Department as a suspected Mpox patient. We sent her samples to National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad, which confirmed she was infected with Mpox”, Dr Nasim Akhtar, head of infectious diseases department at PIMS told The News.

It is the fourth case of monkeypox (Mpox) detected in Pakistan so far. All the patients came from Saudi Arabia, officials at Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHS,R&C) said. Of them, three patients belong to Islamabad and one Karachi, they added.

Infectious diseases experts and officials believe there is no evidence of local transmission of the disease in the country yet.

Dr Nasim Akhtar said the infected lady had been shifted to the isolation ward of PIMS hospital in the federal capital where she was doing fine and hoped within a few days, she would be discharged upon recovery.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), Mpox is usually self-limiting, meaning symptoms usually go away without the need for treatment within 2–3 weeks. Some people may require antibiotics and analgesia to treat secondary infections and local pain.

Last week, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the end of emergency status for the disease based on the recommendation of the Organisation’s emergency committee, saying the decision was prompted by falling case numbers worldwide. But, he emphasised the disease remained a threat, particularly in areas of Africa where it has long been present.

Mpox 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 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 and 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.