The Ministry of Health says Monkeypox is contracted through close contact only, and urged the public not to create any undue fear.
Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena speaking to media today (4) said, the public need not be afraid despite one infected individual being identified inSri Lanka.
Dr. Gunawardena said the disease control system is in place in Sri Lanka and therefore the infected individual was identified promptly.
He stated that Monkeypox can only be contracted through very close contact with an infected individual.
The Director General said the disease similar to chicken pox, can occur periodically, adding that necessary instructions have been issued to heads of health institutions to remain vigilant of the disease and to follow necessary health guidelines.
The Director General added that health departments are keeping a close tab on suspicious patients.
Dr. Gunawardena said yesterday (3) Sri Lanka detected its first Monkeypox case in a 19-year-old individual who returned to Sri Lanka from overseas on the 1st of November.
He said following suspicions, doctors directed his samples to the Medical Research Institute and on Wednesday made arrangements for the individual to be admitted to hospital.
Accordingly, the positive result returned yesterday.
Dr. Gunawardena said he is currently in good health condition and is under medical supervision while his close contacts have been quarantined.
The Director General said the Medical Research Institute has all facilities and medicines to conduct testing adding that unlike COVID-19, the disease is not contagious and does not require quarantine, disinfection of airports or closing shops.
He requested all media organisations to refrain from publishing personal information, including names and addresses, and destinations, when reporting on patients.
Dr. Gunawardena said this mistake was made during the coronavirus pandemic as well which led to the public being discouraged from seeking medical advice.
He noted that if an individual has symptoms similar to Monkeypox they must visit the nearest health institution.
The Director General of Health Services said the virus began spreading across the world in May this year, and spread in Europe and other countries while the number of cases is currently decreasing.
Dr. Gunawardena said 23 cases have been reported in South Asian countries thus far, while one patient succumbed to the virus.
He added that 73,434 patients have been reported across the world while 29 patients have succumbed to the disease.
Meanwhile, Director of the Epidemiology Unit Dr. Samitha Ginige addressing the media briefing said within a week of Monkeypox being announced, Sri Lanka issued a series of instructions in the form of a circular on how to deal with such cases.
Dr. Ginige said in the event a patient is reported laboratory facilities are required to confirm the disease while within a short period, with the support of the World Health Organization, the Medical Research Institute provided necessary facilities to conduct the special tests.
Dr. Ginige said the patient reported in Sri Lanka was reported to the Department of Health within 24-hours of his return to the country.
He noted that Monkeypox is not a disease that spreads by travelling in the same vehicle or working in an institution, adding it spreads from one individual to another through close contact only.
Dr. Ginige stated that the discharge from wounds of an infected person can enter the body through a wound of another person, or through sexual transmission.
He claimed that airborne, mosquito-borne transmission is the least likely scenario.