11 July 2024

An academic committee of Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has recommended that the status of monkeypox be kept, for the time being, as “an infectious disease under watch”, on the grounds that the disease is not a dangerous infectious disease, especially as only one case has been confirmed in the country and his close contacts have tested negative.

Director of the Epidemiology Division of the Disease Control Department Dr. Chakkarat Pittayawonganon said yesterday (Monday) that the committee discussed the World Health Organisation’s declaration last Saturday that monkeypox poses a public health emergency of international concern, but felt that the disease does not meet the criteria of a dangerous infectious disease, because its symptoms are not serious and it is not easily transmissible.

The committee agreed, however, with the decision to upgrade the status of the Public Health Ministry’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), from department level to ministerial level, to enable greater efficiency in coping with any monkeypox outbreak.

The committee also recommended general monitoring and screening measures, to ensure that the Thai health system is capable of coping with any such outbreak.

Dr. Chakkarat said that the committee had also agreed to designate the Medical Services Department to develop a clear set of guidelines of the treatment of monkeypox and to brief health officials on those guidelines.

Thailand has, so far, recorded only one monkeypox case, in a Nigerian man who arrived in Thailand in October last year and stayed in Phuket until he left for Cambodia last week.