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Thermal scanners set up at ports and airports to detect monkeypox

By Minh Thao

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HCMC – Vietnam is ramping up the screening of passengers at ports and airports to identify those having high external body temperature as monkeypox has spread to 78 countries.

The Ministry of Health offered guidance on surveillance and public health measures for monkeypox on August 22, requesting local authorities to use thermal scanners to screen passengers at ports and airports and collect health information from people entering the country.

The local authorities should send suspected cases of monkeypox to temporary quarantine facilities for general health check-ups and collect information about their travel and exposure history.

After that, they will be sent to hospitals or medical facilities for diagnosis and treatment or requested to self-monitor their health for 21 days from the date of entry.

Individuals from countries with monkeypox outbreaks will also be subject to health monitoring for 21 days.

According to the Ministry of Health, anyone who experiences symptoms of monkeypox must avoid contact with other people and go to the nearest medical facility. Possible monkeypox symptoms include unexplained rash, headache, fever, chill, sore throat, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes.

The Ministry of Health also required local authorities to strengthen surveillance and health measures at the medical facilities and public areas to detect suspected cases. Dermatology and STD hospitals or medical facilities should examine people at high risk of monkeypox, especially homosexuals and people with weakened immune systems.

Monkeypox was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research.

The fatality ratio of monkeypox has historically ranged from 0 to 11% among the general population and has been higher among children. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3–6%, according to WHO.

Some monkeypox cases have been reported in several countries and territories close to Vietnam, such as Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, China and Japan. However, Vietnam has not reported a case so far.

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