Thailand is considering raising further its health alert for monkeypox by listing it as a so-called “serious communicable disease”, after the viral disease was classified as a new public health emergency worthy of international concern.
World Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday declared monkeypox as “A Public Health Emergency of International Concern” and urged member countries to find effective methods that do not stigmatise target groups.
The Ministry of Public Health on Sunday raised surveillance measures nationwide in response to WHO’s announcement, said Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.
He was speaking after chairing an urgent meeting with health authorities in which they discussed responses to the monkeypox outbreak.
This comes after detection of the first confirmed case in the country, a Nigerian tourist who escaped into neighbouring Cambodia after he was found to have the disease before being nabbed there.
The man has been detained in Cambodia while tracing of his close contacts in Phuket where he stayed in the past month is under way. None have been found infected by monkeypox, said Mr Anutin.
“As none of the Nigerian man’s close contacts are infected, it’s a relief to some extent,” he said.
”We will meet again within hours so the ministry’s academic committee comprising medical and public health experts can discuss a proposal to declare monkeypox a new serious communicable disease in Thailand,” he said.