Monkeypox: Kerala steps up guard with help desks at airports, training for doctors

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Representational Image | AP

Thiruvananthapuram: Extensive training for doctors and officials of local bodies as well as help desks in all the four international airports in Kerala are some of the latest steps taken by the State government to deal with monkeypox which was recently reported from here.

Giving details of the intensified preventive measures, State Health Minister Veena George said help desks have been started at Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin, Kozhikode and Kannur International airports.

The help desks, manned by trained personnel, would help detect symptoms of monkeypox in those coming from abroad, provide them with expert care and would also be used for resolution of queries, the Minister said in a release.

Apart from this, those returning from countries where monkeypox was reported in the last 21 days and are showing symptoms like fever, rash, or blisters, headache, body aches, muscle pain, sore throat, and difficulty in swallowing food should contact the help desks at the airports, the release said.

The Minister further said in the release that isolation systems have been set up in the districts and those showing symptoms should stay at home in a ventilated room for 21 days.

During this period, they should not come in close contact with pregnant women, children, or immuno-compromised people in the house, the release said.

Call Disha 104, 1056, 0471 2552056 immediately if you notice any symptoms, it said.

It further said that after organising a training programme for 1,200 government and private sector doctors, the Health Department is organising an extensive training programme for monkeypox prevention.

The training would be provided to doctors in private hospitals, private practitioners and doctors in the field of AYUSH in collaboration with Indian Medical Association, it said.

Besides that, training is also being organised for the employees of the local institutions with the cooperation of the Health Department, the release said.

The training programme for health volunteers like Asha workers would be held on July 18 and the public can also watch it live through the link --

Any doubts that people have can also be cleared during the programme, it said.

The Minister had on Saturday said the Health Department was also observing those with chicken pox or similar symptoms in order to ensure that they do not have monkeypox.

She had also said random samples would be tested to ascertain whether anyone else was infected.

"The surveillance at the airport will be intensified. As part of it, the Health Department will hold discussions with the airport authorities. If anyone is found with the symptoms, steps will be taken to isolate them and ambulances have been arranged to shift them to hospitals," Minister had said in a release.

After the first case of monkeypox in the country was reported from Kerala on Thursday, a central team had been sent to the State.

The first case is that of a Keralite who returned from the UAE on July 12.

All his contacts were identified and 11 of his co-passengers, his family members, an auto-driver, a taxi driver and a dermatologist of a private hospital, where the infected person sought treatment first, are under observation.

A special alert has been issued to five districts as people from Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kottayam were co-passengers of the infected person on the Sharjah-Thiruvananthapuram Indigo flight that landed here on July 12.


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