Home / News / India /  Amid Monkeypox worry, India puts several airports on high alert
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India government has held high level meeting to combat what could potentially be the outbreak of another pandemic as Kerala and Delhi reported confirmed cases of Monkeypox virus. in the meeting the centre had cautioned all state and UT authorities, while urging them to increase surveillance. 

Several states also issued alerts as Tuesday reported a number of suspected cases from Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.  

In the meeting, Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Atul Goel directed the National Centre for Disease Control to carry out a detailed epidemiological investigation of the cases. Goel also stressed on the need for a targeted approach towards high-risk groups such as men who have sex with men by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) was highlighted. 

Several airports have also been put on high alert by the Centre and states after the three reported cases in Kerala were people with international travel history. It was stressed that health facilities should keep a lookout for people who complain of an unexplained rash and have travelled in the last 21 days to a country that has recently had confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox.

Here is an overview of all the states that has issued directives for travellers and authorities in the airports.  

Delhi airport

The Delhi government’s Directorate General of Health Services said on Monday, “It is mandatory for all health facilities to notify any suspect case of monkeypox to the concerned District Surveillance Unit and must be referred and isolated at the reserved ward of Lok Nayak Hospital in coordination with District Surveillance Officers."

The Delhi airport will refer international arrivals exhibiting symptoms of the viral infection to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital, news agency PTI reported quoting sources. The symptoms include high fever, back pain and joint pain. 

Further their samples will be sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune, while the suspects' family members will quarantine. The district administrations will also carry out contact tracing to fight the spread of the virus. 

Kerala airports

Kerala reported the first Monkeypox case in India. People with international travel history were the patient. Following this, health minister Veena George said that international travellers will have to undergo thermal scanning at airports to check for symptoms of monkeypox.

Further she informed that health desks have been set up at all international airports and said there are facilities for vaccination in all 14 districts, health department staff, especially dermatologists, equipped with awareness.

Karnataka airport

The Bengaluru's department of health and family welfare has asked authorities to keep a watch on those arriving from affected countries or from international airports. this directive was issued after WHO declared the Monkeypox virus spread as a Global Public Health Scare. The Karnataka health department thereafter increased surveillance at points of entry in the state.

Tamil Nadu airport

The Tamil Nadu Police and Health Department have heightened the surveillance at international airports in the state after monkeypox cases surfaced in neighbouring Kerala. 

The Health Department has set up surveillance teams at all four airports in the state to screen passengers who are reaching the state from international destinations.

Goa airport

Surveillance has also been amped up in Goa airport, considering it atracts a number of international tourists. Goa Health Department said that airport authorities and others have been asked to carry out close surveillance to detect monkeypox cases. 

Health Department Director Dr Geeta Kakodkar informed that they have received the directives and guidelines circulated by WHO on Monkeypox and said, “We have circulated it to IMA doctors and government medical officers. We will take samples even if it is chicken pox case and will send it to (the NIV) Pune".

Odisha airport

Odisha has not reported any case of Monkeypox. However, the state has asked airport officials to monitor those who are coming from outside, especially abroad. The directive was part of other instructions issued which included keeping dedicated beds in every medical college and hospital

Health Minister Naba Kishore Das said the administration has been keeping a close watch on the situation and directed officials to enhance surveillance.

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