It will also provide guidance to the government on the expansion of diagnostic facilities in the country and explore emerging trends related to vaccination for the disease, the sources told PTI.
A 22-year-old man, who recently returned to Kerala from the United Arab Emirates, reportedly died on Saturday due to monkeypox. India has reported a total of four cases of the disease so far.
The decision to constitute the task force was made at a high-level meeting held on July 26 at the level of the chief secretary to the prime minister to review the ongoing public health preparedness in the country.
The working group will be headed by Dr. VK Paul, member of NITI Aayog (health).
The National AIDS Control Organization and the Health Ministry’s General Directorate of Health Services were asked to work on a specific communication strategy to promote timely notification, case detection and case management, an official source said. .
Instructions were given to make operational the Indian Council of Medical Research (CIMR) network of laboratories and arrange for the necessary diagnoses of monkeypox disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared monkeypox a global public health emergency of international concern.
Globally, more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 75 countries.
the Union Ministry of Health has undertaken a number of initiatives including strengthening health screening at points of entry and setting up 15 laboratories under the ICMR to test for monkeypox disease.
It also issued comprehensive guidelines on the disease covering both public health and clinical management aspects and regular interaction with states took place virtually and central multidisciplinary teams were deployed to affected states.
According to the WHO, monkeypox is a viral zoonosis, a virus transmitted to humans by animals, with symptoms similar to smallpox, although clinically less severe.
Monkeypox usually manifests with fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes and can lead to a variety of medical complications. It is usually a self-limited illness with symptoms lasting two to four weeks.
The ‘Guidelines on the management of monkeypox disease’ issued by the Centre, stated that person-to-person transmission occurs primarily through large respiratory droplets that generally require prolonged close contact.
It can also be transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids or lesions, and indirect contact with the material of the lesion, such as through contaminated clothing or bedding from an infected person. Animal-to-human transmission can occur through the bite or scratch of infected animals or through the preparation of bushmeat.
The incubation period is typically six to 13 days, and the case fatality rate for monkeypox has historically ranged as high as 11 percent in the general population and higher among children. In recent times, the fatality rate has been around three to six percent.
Symptoms include lesions that usually begin within one to three days of the onset of fever, last around two to four weeks, and are often described as painful until the healing phase when they begin to itch. A notable predilection for palms and plants is characteristic of monkeypox, according to the guidelines.
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