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Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde said that the state is on alert for monkeypox and necessary steps are being taken in this regard. India has so far recorded four confirmed cases of monkeypox, three in Kerala and one in Delhi. No cases have been reported from Maharashtra yet. Several states including Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand have already issued alerts regarding the virus spread. 

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials to create awareness about monkeypox among people of the state and keep a minimum of 10 beds reserved in Covid hospitals for cases of the disease. And, Jharkhand government has asked health officials to remain on alert and arrange isolation beds in all the district hospitals

Currently, the India government has started discussions with vaccine makers for developing a monkeypox vaccine, should the need arise, a senior government official said, as cases rise globally. “We are already engaging with the potential players," said Vinod Kumar Paul, member of government think tank NITI Aayog and head of the national task force on Covid-19. “As you know, we have a strong presence of our vaccine capacity, so that’s also under the government’s active consideration."

Monkeypox cases doubling every week

Meanwhile, scientists have claimed that monkeypox cases currently doubling every two weeks, raising concerns that it will take several months for the outbreak to peak. World Health Organisation (WHO) Europe has forecast just over 27,000 monkeypox cases in 88 countries by August 2, up from 17,800 cases in nearly 70 countries at the latest count. Making predictions beyond that are complex, scientists around the world told Reuters, but there is likely to be sustained transmission for several months and possibly longer, they said.

"We have to get in front of this," said Anne Rimoin, an epidemiology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, as reported by Reuters.

"It's clear the window of opportunity for doing so is closing," added Rimoin, a member of the WHO expert committee on monkeypox that met last week to determine whether the outbreak constituted a global health emergency.

Monkeypox has been a globally neglected public health problem in parts of Africa for decades, but cases began to be reported outside countries where it is endemic in May. It generally causes mild to moderate symptoms, including fever, fatigue and the hallmark painful skin lesions, that resolve within a few weeks. Five people have died in the current outbreak, all of them in Africa.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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