Karnataka: Health department issues circular for enhanced surveillance against spread of monkeypox

The Karnataka health department Monday issued a circular asking the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and district administrations to increase surveillance in order to check the spread of monkeypox disease.

The circular signed by health commissioner Randeep D said, “All the districts and BBMP are hereby instructed to enhance the preparedness regarding monkeypox surveillance. Designated institutional isolation facilities at district level for the suspected and confirmed cases should be ensured. Mandatory contact tracing of all the suspected cases should be carried out. Contacts should be monitored at least daily for the onset of signs/symptoms for a period of 21 days. If visible signs/symptoms of Monkeypox are seen, then they shall be tested and samples sent for testing.”

“Testing of samples shall be undertaken by… designated laboratory (BMCRI, Bangalore). Till the confirmation of result, the suspected patient shall remain in designated institutional isolation with regular monitoring of health parameters,” the circular added.

The special commissioner (health) with the BBMP, Dr KV Trilok Chandra, has issued another circular directing chief health officers and zonal health officers to gear up to deal with the possible outbreak of monkeypox.

“Ensure that health screening teams are deployed round the clock at Points of Entries (POEs) such as airports, railway stations, bus stands etc., in their respective jurisdiction. Disease surveillance teams and doctors working in UPHCs (urban primary health centers)… are to be re-oriented on the common signs and symptoms, diagnosis, case definitions etc of suspected/probable/confirmed Monkeypox cases and contacts,” the BBMP circular read.

Chandra has also directed the officers to provide training to government and private health practitioners on contact tracing, surveillance activities, testing and other associated IPC (Infection Prevention and Control) protocols and clinical management that need to be undertaken following detection of a probable monkeypox case.

“Confirmed cases should be isolated for at least 21 days and until all lesions have resolved and scabs have completely fallen off. Intensive risk communication is to be undertaken for… workers in the health facilities and in commonly identified sites such as skin and paediatric OPDs, immunisation clinics and intervention sites identified by NACO etc,” the circular said.

“Daily report on number of suspected cases, samples sent, confirmed cases, contacts traced, isolation details, clinical scenario to be collated and shared with the chief health officer (CHO)-public health (PH) through district surveillance officer (DSO) without fail,” the special commissioner instructed.

The schools are also keeping a close watch over the development.

A spokesperson from Orchids-The International School said, “With WHO declaring monkeypox as a public health emergency, it is a matter of great concern, especially when the world is still trying to overcome the impact of Covid-19. We have noticed limited cases of monkeypox in India so far… Keeping in mind the guidelines issued in public interest by the health ministry for management of monkeypox, we all need to take cognisance of the situation and accordingly act responsibly. At Orchids, we are taking all precautions and following safety measures for Covid-19. However, we have not shared any advisory on monkeypox with parents as of now. But we are keeping a close watch on this matter and we will soon take necessary action.”

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