Monkeypox: Bangladesh health expert urges caution around pets

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University prepared to treat monkeypox patients, says institution VC

People should be cautious around their pet animals as it may expose them to the viral zoonotic disease monkeypox, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Sharfuddin Ahmed has said. 

He voiced his concern at an emergency press conference at BSMMU on Tuesday.

“Various research has been indicating that the monkeypox virus is spreading from animals, hence pet owners must protect themselves from the animals’ bites, scratches and saliva,” he said.

 Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Sharfuddin Ahmed speaks at a meeting held at BSMMU Tuesday, May 24, 2022 Bangla Tribune

Referring to a rumor that a monkeypox case had been detected in Bangladesh, Prof Sharfuddin said: “We do not have any information about that in our database." 

However, he assured that BSMMU was ready to treat monkeypox patients. 

“We have all the facilities here. Our doctors, nurses and health workers are ready if the country reports a monkeypox outbreak,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dhaka airport is on high alert in a bid to prevent the virus from entering the country.

The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in a directive issued on Saturday asked health officials to undertake strict thermal screenings for suspected international passengers with any history of travel to monkeypox-affected countries. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday said there have been 131 confirmed monkeypox cases and 106 suspected cases since the first one was reported on May 7 outside the countries where it usually spreads.

While the outbreak is unusual, it remains "containable" and limited, reports Reuters.

The disease has so far been reported in 12 countries between May 12 and May 21, according to the WHO.

Cases have been detected in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Australia.