|The monkeypox virus as seen under a microscope. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HCM CITY — HCM City health authorities on Monday announced Việt Nam’s first case of monkeypox through a public health screening, urging relevant agencies to tighten prevention measures to contain a possible outbreak.
While health authorities have not provided any details on the patient, a representative of the Ministry of Health said it would make an official announcement about the case later today.
Tăng Chí Thượng, director of the municipal Department of Health, recommended strengthening surveillance, prevention and early detection of cases at border gates and medical facilities.
The department will continue to educate the public about the disease, especially its early symptoms, so that those afflicted can immediately seek medical attention, he added.
Thượng recommended relevant agencies prepare for diagnosis, isolation, and management of patients to contain the spread as soon as possible.
Relevant units will need to proactively build their own plans for disease prevention and control.
The department has sought enhanced scanning of body temperature at borders. People who are suspected of having the disease will be instructed to self-quarantine and monitor their health at home.
If severe symptoms appear, people who suspect infection should visit the HCM City Hospital of Tropical Diseases. If tested positive for the virus, patients will be quarantined and treated at the hospital.
The HCM City Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDC) will also investigate people who have been in close contact with the patients and monitor them.
The health ministry has recommended measures to prevent monkeypox, including covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and washing your hands often with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
People with an acute rash of unknown cause, accompanied by one or more suspected symptoms, should contact a medical facility for monitoring and counselling.
People are advised to avoid close and skin-to-skin contact with people with monkeypox, to not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox and to not share utensils, bedding, towels or clothing with them.
People travelling to countries with monkeypox outbreaks should avoid contact with mammals (dead or alive) such as rodents and marsupials as they may contain the monkeypox virus.
Monkeypox can be spread from animals to humans and humans to humans, and in some cases cause skin infection, pneumonia, eye problems, and even death.
The disease tends to be more severe in children, pregnant women or immunocompromised people.
The incubation period is five to 21 days (usually six to 13 days). Monkeypox has symptoms similar to smallpox but differs in its systemic skin lesions and enlarged lymph nodes.
The main symptoms are rash and one or more of the following symptoms: 38-degree or higher fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache, muscle pain, back pain, and asthenia.
Dr Trương Hữu Khanh, former head of the infectious and nervous diseases department at HCM City-based Children’s Hospital No 1, said on Facebook in Vietnamese that the public should not panic about the case.
He recommended the public become aware about disease prevention instead. One way the disease is spreading is through male-male sexual activity, according to the doctor.
The doctor has become popular on Facebook following his constant posts sharing his insights about COVID-19 pandemic prevention during much of the pandemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency over monkeypox outbreak as infections have risen globally, with more than 35,000 cases across 92 countries and territories, and 12 deaths, as of mid-August. — VNS