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Action plan to handle possible monkeypox cases in Cyprus

24/05/2022 13:36

The process of preparing an action plan for the management of possible monkeypox cases in Cyprus is progressing rapidly, a meeting at the Ministry of Health heard on Tuesday, while the competent services of the Ministry assigned a deadline to formulate a plan of procedures before the next meeting.

Proposals were tabled by the State Health Services Organisation (SHSO), the Pharmaceutical Services, the Medical Services and the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit, in relation to the admission and treatment of monkeypox cases in hospitals and how these will be managed.

In statements to CNA, the Ministry’s Communications Adviser Constantinos Athanasiou said the competent services will reconvene on Thursday with additional suggestions to draw up procedures.

During today’s meeting, he added, participants examined whether the relevant laboratory tests can be performed in Cyprus or sent overseas and how these cases will be treated.

Referring to the availability of vaccines in Cyprus, Athanasiou said that at the moment, Cyprus does not have vaccines for smallpox, however, if necessary it can be supplied at a European level.

He explained that these vaccine are available in Denmark and the Netherlands, and both countries assured the EU that they have enough quantities to make available to countries that might need them.

Cyprus, he added, has available two antiviral drugs which are given in extremely severe cases.

According to the ECDC, EU/EEA countries should focus on prompt identification, management, contact tracing and reporting of new monkeypox virus (MPXV) cases. Countries should update their contact tracing mechanisms, their diagnostic capacity for orthopoxviruses and review the availability of smallpox vaccines, antivirals and personal protective equipment (PPE) for health professionals.

Cases should remain isolated until their rash heals completely, avoiding contact with immunosuppressed persons and pets. Abstaining from sexual activity and close physical contact is also advised until the rash heals. Most cases can remain at home with supportive care.

Close contacts of MPX cases should self-monitor for the development of symptoms up to 21 days from the last exposure to a case.

Although most cases in current outbreaks have presented with mild disease symptoms, MPXV may cause severe disease in certain population groups (young children, pregnant women, immunosuppressed persons). However, the likelihood of cases with severe morbidity cannot be accurately estimated yet.