Monkeypox likely to reach the Maldives: HPA

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has said that monkeypox is likely to reach the Maldives.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

In a statement issued on Sunday night, HPA said the likelihood that monkeypox would reach the Maldives is present. However, compared to diseases such as COVID-19, monkeypox is more likely to spread to people who live together in close proximity.

HPA instructed to see a health worker if any symptoms of monkeypox are identified. Those with symptoms must avoid contact with others immediately until a diagnosis is confirmed.

The HPA has also asked the public to take precautions despite the low risk of spreading the disease in the community. They are advised to wash their hands frequently, wear masks and avoid crowded places.

How monkeypox is spread from person to person:

- Prolonged close contact
- Infection from an infected person's blisters or discharge from blisters
- Touching the patient's clothes, towels, and bedsheets
- Infection in the unborn child if infected during pregnancy

The HPA said that it is monitoring the spread of monkeypox around the world and making necessary preparations. They are working to familiarize health workers with the disease and establish testing facilities. The HPA is also looking into the availability of vaccines and medicines along with strengthening surveillance and setting guidelines for treating infected people.

Monkeypox symptoms:

- Fever
- Muscle ache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Blisters (most commonly seen on the genitals, anus, and around the mouth)

The rash evolves sequentially from macules (lesions with a flat base) to papules (slightly raised firm lesions), vesicles (lesions filled with clear fluid), pustules (lesions filled with yellowish fluid), and crusts that dry up and fall off.

Monkeypox has been reported in 72 countries. More than 14,000 people have been infected thus far.