Monkeypox scare: Health screening on high-risk visitors at Kedah entry points

PENDANG: The Kedah government is stepping up precautionary measures at the state's entry points in the wake of the spread of monkeypox worldwide.

State Health and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mohd Hayati Othman said this includes carrying out blood test on high-risk travellers.

However, he said up to today, there have been no reports of individuals infected by the virus entering the state.

"First of all, this disease was detected in Africa before spreading to several countries in Europe. The relevant countries have surely activated their disease control protocols. Even in Malaysia, we have our own protocols to control such cases.

"If we receive any reports on travellers infected by the disease leaving their respective countries, we will carry out health screenings on them, including blood tests, to detect monkeypox," he told reporters after opening the state-level Local Government Sports Tournament 2022 at Dewan Cenderawasih, here today.

Yesterday, Thailand reported its first case of monkeypox involving a traveller from Europe who had transited for two hours at Bangkok's international airport while travelling to Australia.

On a related development, Dr Mohd Hayati advised Kedahans travelling for their haj pilgrimage to be extra cautious following the monkeypox outbreak.

"We wish to advise our pilgrims to avoid physical contact with pilgrims from other countries as pilgrims from all over the world will converge in Saudi Arabia to perform the haj," he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Hayati said Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) infections in Kedah are still under control although the state has recorded a steady increase of new cases.

"Only a small number of children infected by HFMD have been hospitalised. They were given drips and monitored before being discharged.

"HFMD is not as serious as Covid-19. Children infected by HFMD are required to be placed under quarantine and would normally recover," he said.

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