Islamabad, Monkey pox has been declared as Public Health Emergency of International concern in July 22 by WHO and reportable to WHO under IHR 2005. Monkey pox (Mpox) is a viral zoonotic disease caused by a pox virus (MPXV) and is a contagious disease. It can be transmitted from infected animals to humans or from infected humans to others humans via close contacts and droplets. As of now a total of around 87,000 laboratory confirmed cases and 119 deaths have been reported from 111 countries globally. The number of cases reported weekly at the global level peaked in August 2022, and since then, the cases have been steadily declining.
In Pakistan, since May 2022, a total of 22 samples from suspected cases were referred form different parts of the country and PCR test were carried out at NIH for Monkey pox virus. First (01) case have been confirmed by NIH from travelers who arrived recently in Pakistan and has been isolated at PIMS hospital along with others who are being investigated.
As there is no evidence of localized transmission of Mpox as of now in Pakistan, the risk of international spread of disease from Pakistan remains low. The WHO does not recommend any restrictions on trade on the current available information regarding Mpox outbreaks.
Mpox advisory to the health authorities and guidelines by Border Health Services based on the recent case detection have been issued to enhance screening of inbound passengers all international airports. The NIH, Provincial Health Departments and Border Health Services at all Airports, District Health authorities at Islamabad and provinces have been advised to ensure surveillance through Laboratory diagnostics, contact tracing, rapid identification of suspected cases and clusters of infections as well as the source of infection in order to: provide optimal clinical care; isolate cases to prevent further transmission; identify, manage and follow-up contacts to recognize early signs of infection; identify risk groups for infection and for severe disease; protect frontline health workers; and tailor effective control and prevention measures.
The Ministry and NCOC at NIH Pakistan are vigilantly monitoring the situation both at the national and global levels while keeping all the relevant stakeholders on board for ensuring preparedness, timely response and containment of mpox cases in Pakistan.