In response to the detection of Monkeypox in the country, Pakistan on Wednesday implemented stricter screening measures for all inbound passengers.
The Border Health Services issued an advisory to health authorities on Wednesday, urging them to enhance screening of passengers at all international airports. The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination and the National Command and Operation Center are closely monitoring the situation, while relevant stakeholders have been kept informed to ensure preparedness, timely response, and containment of Monkeypox cases in Pakistan.
To prevent further transmission, several entities have been advised to conduct surveillance through laboratory diagnostics, contact tracing, rapid identification of suspected cases and clusters of infections, and to identify the source of infection. They are also responsible for isolating cases, managing and following up with contacts, identifying risk groups, protecting health workers, and implementing effective control and prevention measures. These entities include the NIH, provincial health departments, Border Health Services at all airports, and district health authorities.
While there is currently no evidence of localized transmission of Monkeypox in Pakistan, the risk of international spread remains low. The World Health Organization has not recommended any restrictions on trade based on the available information regarding Monkeypox outbreaks. Since May 2022, 22 samples from suspected cases were referred to NIH for PCR tests, and the first case has been confirmed in a traveler who arrived recently in Pakistan.
Monkeypox is a highly contagious viral disease that can be transmitted from infected animals to humans or from infected humans to others via close contact and droplets. It has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO and is reportable under IHR 2005. As of now, there have been around 87,000 laboratory-confirmed cases and 119 deaths reported from 111 countries globally. The number of cases reported weekly at the global level peaked in August 2022 and has since been steadily declining.
In conclusion, Pakistan is taking proactive measures to contain Monkeypox and prevent its spread in the country. With the cooperation of relevant entities and stakeholders, it is hoped that the disease can be effectively managed and controlled.