Interview: Turkish expert warns against possible monkeypox outbreak as tourism season begins

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 26, 2022
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ISTANBUL, May 26 (Xinhua) -- A leading infectious diseases specialist in Turkey urged health authorities to impose necessary measures at border crossings to help detect monkeypox cases as the summer tourism season begins in May.

Mehmet Ceyhan, head of the Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases of the Ankara-based Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, told Xinhua in a recent interview that with the start of the tourism season, human mobility has increased significantly and if precautions are not taken, the disease will spread faster than ever before.

The foreign arrivals in Turkey, which has not yet reported a monkeypox case, surged by 225.6 percent year on year to 2.57 million in April.

"We can't prevent the spread of this disease with the control measures we have in Turkey at the moment. It all depends on whether the virus would come or not," Ceyhan said.

The specialist advised officials to establish checkpoints, especially in airports, where health workers will "at least" inspect the hands and arms of those who will enter the country for the clinical recognition of monkeypox.

He explained that the monkeypox lesions typically appear as a rash and develop simultaneously and rapidly on any part of the body, mostly on the hands and legs.

So far, the virus has been seen in over 20 countries, including the United States, Britain, and some other European countries.

According to Ceyhan, the world will see more of such diseases in the upcoming period as the coronavirus-related limitations and measures have been removed in most parts of the world, including Turkey.

"There will be new outbreaks with disease names which we will hear for the first time, and which will sound strange. Because after two and a half years of completely isolating the society, we have suddenly removed all the measures," he said.

Ceyhan noted that Turkey now sees more cases of respiratory diseases and diarrhea in children than ever expected.

"When people heard official statements on lifting the pandemic measures, they did not only remove their masks, but also gave up paying attention to hygiene. The places that have been disinfected for a long time started not to be cleaned. Food safety and food hygiene are no longer adequately provided," he explained.

The specialist said the smallpox vaccine prevents monkeypox infections with 85 percent effectiveness, but storing these vaccines and the smallpox virus had been forbidden by a treaty when this disease was eradicated in 1980, so Turkey does not have a live smallpox virus to develop a vaccine. Enditem

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