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Monkeypox virus: Stay away from pet rodents if you have the disease, say UK experts

An employee of the vaccine company Bavarian Nordic works in a laboratory of the company in Martinsried near Munich, Germany, May 24, 2022. The company, headquartered in Denmark, is the only one in the world to have approval for a smallpox vaccine called Jynneos in the U.S. and Imvanex in Europe, which is also effective against monkeypox virus. REUTERS/Lukas Barth (REUTERS)Premium
An employee of the vaccine company Bavarian Nordic works in a laboratory of the company in Martinsried near Munich, Germany, May 24, 2022. The company, headquartered in Denmark, is the only one in the world to have approval for a smallpox vaccine called Jynneos in the U.S. and Imvanex in Europe, which is also effective against monkeypox virus. REUTERS/Lukas Barth (REUTERS)

India is prepared for monkeypox virus infections as it is rapidly spreading in non-endemic countries like Europe, USA and others, Dr Aparna Mukherjee earlier said.

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As the World Health Organization (WHO) fears community spread possibilities of monkeypox virus, health experts in the United Kingdom have asked patients to stay away from pet rodents for at least three weeks. In May itself, there have been more than 100 monkeypox virus cases registered in the UK. Monkeypox disease was earlier believed to be confined to the African nations.

In England, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has discovered 16 new cases of monkeypox. The new cases raise the total number of confirmed cases in England to 101 as of May 26. There are currently three confirmed cases in Scotland, one in Wales, and one in Northern Ireland, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the United Kingdom to 106.

Also Read: If monkeypox spreads, it would be consequential, says Joe Biden

People infected with monkeypox virus have been advised to stay away from their pet rodents for three weeks, as there is a risk that the animals will become infected and spread the infection to others.

“It is unlikely (but cannot be ruled out) that an infected rodent pet could spread infection to peridomestic or wild rodents. As rodents may not show clinical signs of infection, and the incubation period is unknown, testing to detect the presence of antibodies as well as virus would provide more confidence in ruling out infection.," the guidance on monkeypox disease states.

Based on current evidence, temporary removal from the household for a limited quarantine period (21 days) and testing to exclude infection is recommended for pet rodents in households where there are infected people, particularly where there are infected human contacts who have had close direct and prolonged contact with the animal or its bedding and/or litter, the monkeypox disease guideline adds.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, Dr Aparna Mukherjee, Scientist E, ICMR said, "India is prepared for the infections as it is rapidly spreading in non-endemic countries like Europe, USA and others. However, no cases have been reported in India so far."

The health expert also emphasised keeping a close watch on unusual symptoms, especially those who have a travel history from the monkeypox virus-infected countries.

(With ANI inputs)

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