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Health Ministry guidelines on directing Monkeypox cases

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With over 30,000 suspected or confirmed cases of ‘Monkeypox’ detected even in non-endemic countries, the Health Ministry of Sri Lanka released guidelines on surveillance, identification and confirmation of the viral infection in the country. So far, no cases of Monkeypox have been detected in Sri Lanka.

The Health Promotion Bureau of the Ministry of Health said that the relevant institutions running under the Ministry of Health, which are preparing to face the ‘Monkeypox’ epidemic which is spreading rapidly around the world, have issued the necessary guidelines to identify suspected patients at the same time as starting tests to determine the disease.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Monkeypox can cause a range of signs and symptoms. While some people have mild symptoms, others may develop more serious symptoms and need care in a health facility. Those at higher risk for severe disease or complications include people who are pregnant, children and persons that are immunocompromised.

The most common symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, and swollen lymph nodes. This is followed or accompanied by the development of a rash which can last for two to three weeks. The rash can be found on the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, eyes, mouth, throat, groin, and genital and/or anal regions of the body. The number of lesions can range from one to several thousand. Lesions begin flat, then fill with liquid before they crust over, dry up and fall off, with a fresh layer of skin forming underneath.

Symptoms typically last two to three weeks and usually go away on their own or with supportive care, such as medication for pain or fever. People remain infectious until all of the lesions have crusted over, the scabs fallen off and a new layer of skin has formed underneath.

If any of the above mentioned symptoms are present, the person is considered to be suspected of being infected with ‘Monkeypox’.

However, since there are many diseases such as chicken pox, measles, herpes zoster (chicken pox), and bacterial skin infections that cause similar symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor to determine whether a person with the above symptoms should be suspected of being infected with ‘Monkeypox’.

A person is suspected of having ‘Monkeypox’ based on the aforementioned symptoms, If you have had close physical or sexual contact with a confirmed ‘monkey pox’ patient or Within 21 days of the onset of symptoms, have had intimate physical contact with a stranger or more than one person; or If blood tests or PCR tests give results related to monkeypox virus group he or she is classified as possibly infected with ‘Monkeypox’.

At present, it is only possible to definitively confirm that someone is a ‘Monkeypox patient’ through a PCR test conducted on crusts of skin lesions, skin fragments or pus from the wound. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022 – 01:10

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