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Indian Medical Associations call on WHO to declare Monkeypox a sexually transmitted infection

Laxmi Yadav, Mumbai
Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Close on the heels of World Health Organization (WHO) declaring Monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern, Indian Medical Associations have called on the United Nations’ agency for global public health to declare the virus sexually transmitted infection (STI) as currently 100 per cent cases are transmitted sexually.
Hailing WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for declaring Monkeypox a global health emergency of international concern (GHEIC), Organized Medicine Academic Guild (OMAG), a federation of 15 professional associations of post-graduate doctors in India, has urged WHO to declare the virus STI.
With more than 16,000 cases of the virus reported in more than 70 countries, the current outbreaks suggest it is essentially a sexually transmitted infection, said Dr Ishwar Gilada, consultant in infectious diseases and secretary general, OMAG.
OMAG also appealed to WHO to change its nomenclature to reduce stigma and discrimination against the patients and their families.
Besides this, the federation has written a letter to the central government urging it to involve National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) to prevent, control & manage Monkeypox and increase production of smallpox vaccine which is effective in preventing Monkeypox.
“We have also appealed to the government to stop hounding on patients to prevent stigma and discrimination and have mechanism in place for violating human rights,” said Dr Gilada. 
On July 24, India reported its fourth case of Monkeypox in a 34-year-old man from Delhi who is said to have no travel history.
The central government has swung into action after the first case of Monkeypox was detected in Kerala. It directed all states and Union territories to take requisite actions to minimise Monkeypox threat.
The Central government has issued a slew of guidelines to manage the contagious disease including orientation and re-orientation of all key stakeholders including health screening teams at entry points, disease surveillance teams, and doctors working in hospitals about common signs and symptoms.
To help the country's preparedness for Monkeypox detection, 15 virus research & diagnostic laboratories across the country, which are geographically well distributed and strategically located, have already been trained in the diagnostic test by ICMR -National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.


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