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Monkeypox: Alarm bells ring as cases spread across the world

The Indian Council of Medical Research has called for experienced pharmaceutical companies and research organisations to “collaborate on royalty basis” for developing monkeypox vaccine and diagnostic kits.

Suspected cases of the virus are being tested in various parts of India including Maharashtra and many states are taking strict precautions against the disease. (File)

Monkeypox, which has spread to over 70 countries including India where four cases have been reported — three in Kerala and one in Delhi, has been declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Suspected cases of the virus are being tested in various parts of India, including Maharashtra, with most states taking strict precautions against the disease. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has called for experienced pharmaceutical companies and research organisations to “collaborate on royalty basis” for developing a monkeypox vaccine and diagnostic kits.

We take a look at monkeypox cases around the world:

People line up at a monkeypox vaccination site Thursday, July 28, 2022, in Encino, California. (AP)

Monkeypox cases detected in over 77 countries

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More than 77 countries have declared confirmed monkeypox outbreaks and over 20,638 cases have been reported around the world. The countries include India, Australia, Japan, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, UK, US, Brazil and Canada.

Philippines detects first monkeypox infection

The Philippines has detected its first case of the monkeypox virus on Friday. As reported by Reuters, the virus has been found in a citizen who had travelled abroad earlier in July, a health ministry official said. Department of Health Undersecretary Beverly Ho has said that the patient is in isolation currently.

San Francisco declares emergency

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San Francisco mayor London Breed announced a state of emergency as monkeypox cases grew in the city. “We are at a very scary place. And we don’t want to be ignored by the federal government in our need. So many leaders of the LGBT community have also, weeks ago, asked for additional help and support and assistance,” said Breed. She added that the city was in “desperate need of vaccines.”

Monkeypox vaccines are shown at the Salt Lake County Health Department Thursday, July 28, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP)

Of the 4,600 cases in the United States, San Francisco has 281 cases, of which, around 800 are in California, according to the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

According to AP, there is a shortage of monkeypox vaccines throughout the United States which has led to people waiting in lines for hours for doses.

US officials say monkeypox can be eliminated

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Amid rising cases and a shortage of vaccine in the US, the country’s health officials on Thursday said that the spread of the monkeypox virus can be contained as well as eliminated.

Xavier Becerra, head of the Department of Health and Human Services as reported by AP said, “We believe we have done everything we can at the federal level to work with our state and local partners and communities affected to make sure we can stay ahead of this and end this outbreak.”

No monkeypox vaccines in Africa

According to Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention head Ahmed Ogwell, said that over 2,100 cases of Monkeypox had been reported in 11 African cities along with 11 deaths and yet the country does not have even a single does of the monkeypox vaccine.

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Ogwell said, “Let us get vaccines onto the continent.”

Co-passengers of second monkeypox patient asymptomatic, say Karnataka health authorities

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Meanwhile, in India, health authorities in Karnataka said Thursday that all the co-passengers of the country’s second monkeypox patient, a man from Kannur who arrived at the Mangalore International Airport (MIA) from Dubai on July 13, are asymptomatic.

Sources in the health department said that there were 33 contacts—eight in Udupi, 15 from Kasargod, and 10 in Dakshina Kannada—and nobody has reported any symptom of monkeypox.

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This image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) shows a colorized transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox particles (red) found within an infected cell (blue), cultured in the laboratory that was captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Md. (AP)

“Today is the 15th day of the 10 passengers who were put under home isolation in Mangaluru and no one has developed any symptoms. They will remain in home isolation for the next six days as well. We are constantly monitoring the situation. The isolated ones have been asked to report if they develop any symptoms like rashes, fever, chills, fatigue etc. The health department is on its toes and they are following up with them,” said Dr Jagadeesh, District Surveillance Officer (DSO), Dakshina Kannada.

Tamil Nadu to hold monkeypox tests at King Institute

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The Centre has allowed the Tamil Nadu Health Department to hold tests for the monkeypox virus at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research, State Minister for Medical and Family Welfare Ma Subramanian said on Thursday.

“The World Health Organisation has issued directives to protect ourselves from the virus. In India, four cases were reported from Kerala and New Delhi. In Tamil Nadu, there has been no monkey pox cases detected till date,” Subramanian said.

First published on: 29-07-2022 at 02:12:02 pm
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