Three mpox suspects found at Karachi airport

They have been isolated and samples collected from them

Tufail Ahmed October 19, 2023
Test tubes labeled "Monkeypox virus positive and negative" are seen in this illustration taken May 23, 2022. REUTERS


Health authorities on Wednesday isolated three air travellers suspected of having monkeypox (mpox) at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport. The three suspected patients were taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, where samples were taken from them for the confirmation of the disease.

The Provincial Disease Surveillance and Response Unit (PDSRU) and Directorate General Health Services (DGHSS) Hyderabad have formed an investigation team with support of District Health Officer (East) Dr Shakeel Ahmed Qureshi to investigate the suspected cases.

According to a statement issued by the PDSRU- DGHSS Hyderabad, the first case is that of a 17-year-old male from Punjab’s Gujrat district. He developed itching as well as multiple pustular rashes on limbs and trunk areas. He lived in Libya, Oman and Egypt and travelled to Karachi.

Read more: First monkeypox case detected in Karachi

He had no sign and symptoms before the suspected onset of mpox on October 1.
He stayed in Egypt for seven hours and later in Bahrain before flying to Karachi after 14 hours.

On Wednesday, he travelled to Pakistan at the Karachi airport, where he was taken as a suspected case of mpox and shifted to the Sindh Government Infectious Disease Hospital and Research Centre to be kept in quarantine as well as further investigation. A sample of his skin lesion was taken to detect mpox and the result was awaited by the time this report was filed.

The second case too was of a 17-year-old male from Punjab’s Gujrat district. He also developed itching and multiple pustular rashes on limbs and trunk areas. Like the first suspected patient, he too lived in Libya, Oman and Egypt before travelling to Karachi. He shares the same travel history as the first suspected patient. On his arrival at the Karachi airport, he was treated in the same manner as the first suspected patient and his results too were awaited by the time this report was filed.

The third case is different in terms of age as he is a 26-year-old male instead of a teenager. He is also from Punjab’s Gujrat district. He developed itching and multiple vesicular painful rashes which appeared on his back, feet, trunk and genital areas.
He stayed in Libya, Misar and Oman.  He travelled from Libya to Karachi by a nine-hour flight after staying in Bahrain.

Read: WHO declares mpox no longer a global health emergency

According to the statement, he had come into contact with another suspected patient, who had similar signs and symptoms, two days before the onset of his illness. His suspected onset of the disease began three days ago. He travelled from Libya to Pakistan by reaching the Karachi airport.

He too was treated in the same way as the other two suspected patients and his result was also being awaited for the confirmation of mpox.

The recommendations in the statement included ensuring the infection prevention and control  (IPC) compliance at the hospital during the management of the suspected patient, particularly while transporting the samples to the laboratory.

Also read: First two Monkeypox patients recover in Pakistan, says health ministry

It also advised contact tracing and following up till the maximum incubation periods.
The designated staff from the health facility should handle and transport the samples to the laboratory as per standard guidelines.

It recommended sharing an advisory on mpox with doctors and paramedics across the province. The health facility should sensitise its medics and paramedics staff on mpox advisory, especially on how to identify suspected cases and sampling procedures.


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