Laos on alert for monkeypox among tourists


VIENTIANE (Xinhua): Lao health authorities are monitoring tourists for cases of monkeypox, following a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) that cases of the disease have emerged in several countries.

The local daily Vientiane Times on Wednesday (May 25) quoted Rattanaxay Phetsouvanh, director general of the Department of Communicable Disease Control under the Lao Ministry of Health, as saying that health workers will be screening visitors and asking them about their travel history. People who have spent time in at-risk areas will not be allowed to enter Laos.

Monkeypox is a viral disease found mostly in central and western Africa.

Monkeypox cases in humans have occurred outside of Africa linked to international travel or imported animals, including in the United States, Israel, Singapore and Britain.

The situation is evolving and WHO expects there will be more cases of monkeypox identified as surveillance expands in non-endemic countries.

Immediate actions focus on informing those who may be most at risk for infection with accurate information, in order to stop further spread.

WHO said that available information suggests that human-to-human transmission is occurring among people in close physical contact with cases which are symptomatic.

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