Have not received any monkeypox samples: NIV director
PUNE Even as the country prepares to deal with monkeypox cases in the wake of the World Health Organisation (WHO) sounding a cautionary note, the Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV) is expecting to get samples soon.
As per the advisory issued by the ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW), as of now, only NIV has been approved to test samples of suspected monkeypox cases. NIV Pune is the apex surveillance and testing centre for infections in the country. NIV director Dr Priya Abraham said, “As of Tuesday, we have not received any samples as they have not yet arrived. However, we expect to receive them soon as we are getting queries regarding the same.”
Asked if similar queries are coming in from foreign countries for testing samples, Dr Abraham said, “We can go public about this only when we get the samples confirmed in our hands.”
During the initial phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, NIV played a crucial role in the early detection and accurate testing of samples not just from India but also from neighbouring countries.
While monkeypox is not a new infection, detection of cases in countries where the infection was not reported earlier has raised concerns across the world. As per the MoHFW advisory and the advisory issued by the national centre for disease control (NCDC), public health authorities have to keep a lookout for people with an otherwise unexplained rash, especially those who have travelled in the last 21 days to a country that has recently had confirmed or suspected cases of monkey pox or those who report contact with a person or people with confirmed or suspected monkey pox.
The advisory further states that suspected cases have to be isolated at designated healthcare facilities until all lesions have resolved and a fresh layer of skin has formed or till such time the treating physician decides to end isolation. All such patients have to be reported to the district surveillance officer of integrated disease surveillance programme. All infection control practices have to be followed while treating such patients. Laboratory samples consisting of fluid from vesicles, blood, sputum etc. have to be sent to NIV Pune for monkey pox testing in case of suspicion. In case a positive case is detected, contact tracing has to be initiated immediately to identify the patient’s contacts in the last 21 days.
As of now, the monkeypox non-endemic countries are Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, UK and USA. While monkey pox endemic countries are Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana (identified in animals only), Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.
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