The Lao Ministry of Health (MOH) issued a notice today confirming the first case of monkeypox infection in the country, involving an individual with a history of travel to neighboring countries where monkeypox cases have been reported earlier.
According to the notice, the first case of monkeypox infection was recorded on 8 September; however, the ministry has not provided any further information about the patient.
To prevent the spread of monkeypox, all provinces and Vientiane Capital have been instructed to assess initial risk and prepare outbreak response to tackle new cases of the viral disease.
The notice also urged all hospitals across the country, including public and private health facilities at all levels, to be on high alert for fever and rash-like symptoms. If any patient displays such signs, they must be immediately reported, and samples must be collected for testing at the National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology.
In the meantime, the hospitals must check the readiness of their laboratories and sample collection equipment to ensure that they can quickly and accurately verify the results of monkeypox infection tests.
“Hospitals, especially those in provinces with international checkpoints, are advised to be prepared with necessary medical equipment, protective gear, and testing kits,” the notice states.
Additionally, MOH called on relevant parties to campaign for public awareness about the harmful effects of monkeypox and educate residents on how to protect themselves.
According to the Centre of Information and Education for Health, the most common symptom of monkeypox is a rash that usually starts on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion.
To avoid getting monkeypox, individuals are advised to avoid contact with people who are sick and display symptoms of the disease and wash their hands often with soap and water.