KUCHING, May 23: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii is urging the Ministry of Health (MOH) to issue clear and specific public guidelines on the monkeypox virus, including advisories for those intending to travel to destinations currently experiencing outbreaks, to prevent the disease from spreading to Malaysia.
In a statement released today, Dr Yii noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) held an emergency meeting to discuss the virus’s alarming spread around the world, and that while the majority of infected patients recovered without complications, the disease should be taken seriously.
“As of May 21, 2022 (Saturday), WHO reports 92 confirmed monkeypox cases and 28 suspected cases in 12 countries, including Australia, Canada, the United States, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, as the mysterious spread continues.
“Of course, as surveillance expands, more cases are likely to be reported.
“As a result, MOH must issue proper guidelines and recommendations, including advising Malaysians planning to visit countries affected by the monkeypox outbreak to get vaccinated beforehand to protect themselves against the virus,” he said.
He noted that according to WHO guidelines, getting the existing smallpox vaccine or even the chickenpox vaccine, which is said to be 85 per cent effective against monkeypox, is recommended.
At the same time, Dr Yii said that the government should consider ways to strengthen border control, including monitoring the entry of individuals from countries affected by the outbreak.
He also suggested that the public be educated and given guidelines for monitoring monkeypox symptoms, including undergoing quarantine if necessary to prevent local transmission.
“Those who experience symptoms after returning from the affected countries should seek medical attention immediately, though the virus has not yet been reported in Malaysia, so we have to be extra vigilant.
“The virus originated in monkeys and spreads to humans via bodily fluids such as saliva, nasal mucus, and phlegm.
“It can cause symptoms such as fever and aches, as well as a distinctive bumpy rash,” he added.
Dr Yii, who is also the chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Health, Science, and Innovation, stated that while the majority of infected patients recovered without complications within two to four weeks and the mortality rate was low, at about one per cent compared to chickenpox, which was around three to six per cent, it should not be taken lightly.
“That is why the government must be proactive in this matter.
“In order to build strong public confidence and not cause any unnecessary panic, the public should be given all the necessary guidelines, advisory, and recommendations so that they are better educated and informed on this important issue,” he concluded. — DayakDaily