BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): Wildlife checkpoints nationwide have been told to step up checking of imported wild animals to prevent them from bringing monkeypox into Thailand, Ratchada Suriyakul na Ayutthaya, director-general of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, said on Wednesday (May 24).
Prasert Sornsathapornkul, director of the CITES wild animals and plants protection division, plans to hold a meeting of concerned agencies to tell them to step up scrutiny for monkeypox at wildlife checkpoints.
Ratchada said the meeting was attended by chiefs of several concerned agencies, including the wild animal healthcare division of the Wild Animals Conservation Office, the Suvarnabhumi airport wildlife checkpoint, animal quarantine centres, medical division of the Suvarnabhumi Airport, and other wildlife checkpoint officials.
Ratchada said the meeting resolved to enforce the following measures:
>All wildlife checkpoints around the country must strictly check wild animals that are imported and they must strictly monitor against smuggling in of monkeys and rodents.
>Importers of wild animals must be informed to test for monkeypox on animals that will be brought into the country, apart from other diseases as per the conditions for the import of zoo and wild animals into Thailand.
>Animal quarantine checkpoint of the Livestock Development Department must check health certificates of animals in risk groups to see whether they have passed the monkeypox test before entering Thailand.
>Officials will seek cooperation from wild animals importers to delay import of animals from countries where monkeypox has been detected.
>Officials at wildlife checkpoints must be more cautious during operations, as they may come into physical contact with animals infected with monkeypox.
>Officials must proactively monitor the health of monkeys and rodents that have already been imported to make sure that they will not be carriers of monkeypox. Their caretakers must also be monitored, whether they have any symptoms similar to monkeypox disease.Screening of imported animals to be stepped up amid monkeypox fears
>Breeders of foreign wild animals must be informed to monitor against smallpox. They must be told to alert the department immediately if any suspicious case is detected.
So far, the Disease Control Department has maintained that no monkeypox case has been detected in Thailand.
Meanwhile, Wanthanee Watana, deputy Bangkok city clerk, said on Wednesday that no monkeypox case has been detected in Bangkok so far. However, people who have visited countries where the outbreak has occurred may be infected and carry the virus back to Thailand.
She said risk groups include Thai workers, tourists and tourist operators who have visited the countries where monkeypox has spread.
She urged Bangkok residents to monitor closely announcements from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
She said those who had visited countries where the virus has spread should avoid touching carrier animals. After they return to the country, they should monitor their condition and they should consult a doctor immediately if they see rashes on their face, arms and legs.