Additional screening measures are now implemented in Thailand’s international airports for visitors traveling from countries where monkeypox has been reported, with focus on travellers from high-risk countries, such as Nigeria and Congo in Central Africa and some countries in Europe.
According to the Department of Disease Control (DDC), travelers are now required to fill out and present a health declaration QR code card upon arriving in Thailand, allowing officials to keep track of each passenger.
Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, swelling, aching muscles and exhaustion, and typically itchy rash and lesions. The symptoms are similar to chickenpox but less severe. Most people will recover from monkeypox in a few weeks. However, in serious cases, the disease can be fatal. The mortality rate among small children can be as high as 10 percent.
The DDC has established an emergency operations center (EOC) to monitor the spread of monkeypox and instructed related units to be vigilant for travelers from Central and West Africa, the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal, where the virus has been detected.
Dr Opart Karnkawinpong, chief of Thailand’s DCD, says monkeypox has not been detected on Thai soil yet. Better still, most Thais born before 1981 will be protected against monkeypox thanks to the country’s program of inoculation with smallpox vaccine, which had been in place in the past.
According to the WHO, Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms very similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe. It is caused by the monkeypox virus which belongs to the orthopoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family. There are two clades of monkeypox virus: the West African clade and the Congo Basin (Central African) clade. The name monkeypox originates from the initial discovery of the virus in monkeys in a Danish laboratory in 1958. The first human case was identified in a child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970.
Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding. The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.