Srinagar, Aug 5: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday sought monkeypox testing facility at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar of Kashmir valley.
“That would help in quicker testing of suspected monkeypox virus samples and hasten detection of cases,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Dr Hassan said that Kashmir has the recommended biosafety level 3 lab at GMC Srinagar and machine to do the tests and the laboratory expertise in molecular detection of the virus.
“We need diagnostic testing kits and we will be doing the tests,” he said.
“It is imperative to enhance laboratory preparedness which is crucial to tackle the looming public health threat posed by monkeypox,” he added.
The DAK President said according to the guideline of the Union Health Ministry only suspected cases and contacts that are symptomatic are to be tested for monkeypox.
A suspected case is a person with unexplained acute skin rash and one or more of the symptoms – swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, body aches, and profound weakness.
The guideline also states that the person must have a history of international travel in the last 21 days. “However, in the current outbreak there are cases who have no history of travel which gives us to understand that the guidelines need to be revisited,” Dr Nisar said.
“The recommended specimen type for diagnostic confirmation of monkeypox in suspected cases is skin lesion material, including swabs of lesion exudate, roofs from more than one lesion, or lesion crusts,” he said.
Worldwide, more than 26,000 cases have been recorded with India reporting 9 cases of monkeypox so far. While no case of the disease has been detected in Kashmir so far, Dr Nisar said the valley being the most favorite tourist destination, there was a need to be vigilant and prepared.