Health authorities quarantined four air travellers, including a teenager, suspected of having monkeypox (mpox) following their arrival at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi. Sources said the passengers two of them hailing from Somalia and as many Pakistani deportees had arrived in Karachi from Dubai on different flights.
They said the suspected patients had been quarantined at a government health facility in Bhittaiabad and their samples were sent to the Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases, part of the Dow University of Health Sciences, for an analysis. The lab results would take one to two days to come, they said.
“Their chances of not having the disease are high, since none of them got the classic signs and symptoms of mpox. What raised the concern of the staff were blisters and pimples that were detected on physical examination,” a health department official said.Passengers from high-risk countries were being screened and tested for mpox for the past two days, he added.
A rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, mpox symptoms are similar to but milder than smallpox symptoms. The disease spreads when someone is in close contact with an infected animal and person. It is a droplet infection and enters the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract or through the eyes, nose or mouth, as well as through shared items such as bedding or towels.Early signs of monkeypox include flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, trunk, lymphadenopathy and chickenpox-like rashes on the hands and face. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has urged the government to implement measures for preventing an outbreak of mpox and immediately declare the cases after detection.
“The government should improve the facilities at airports, seaports and all border entries of the country in order to scan and monitor the passengers; especially those arriving from high-risk countries.
It should immediately start rapid antigen tests for monkeypox at airports and at all other entry points of the country only for the passengers arriving from affected countries,” a PMA press release stated.