Pakistan: No diagnostic facility to detect monkeypox, says health ministry

Samples can be sent abroad for testing in case of an outbreak, clarified National Institutes of Health


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Published: Sat 28 May 2022, 10:08 AM

Amid the rising risk of a monkeypox outbreak in Pakistan, the country's health ministry on Saturday said that there was no facility for diagnostic tests for the virus.

The officials of the federal health ministry said that there are no cases of monkeypox reported in the country yet; however, in the case of an outbreak, the samples can be sent abroad for testing, Geo TV reported.

"The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Islamabad clarifies that NO case of monkeypox has yet been diagnosed in Pakistan. The news circulating on social media about monkeypox cases is incorrect. The situation is being closely monitored by the health authorities," NIH wrote on Twitter.

The ministry further said that the government is trying to procure testing kits for NIH. They further stated that Aga Khan University and other health organisations are also trying to procure the testing kits, Geo TV reported.

The officials said that given the circumstances, the health experts can declare a patient as a suspected case by examining the symptoms.

The monkeypox virus is tested through a PCR machine similar to the diagnostic tests for Covid-19, Geo TV reported citing the health experts.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation on Friday issued a warning against the disease and said that countries should take the right measures to contain monkeypox cases easily and also share data about their vaccine stockpiles.

Sylvie Briand, WHO director for Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness, said that the extent of the disease is uncertain. On the risk to the community spread, she said, "We are afraid that it will be spread in the community, but currently it is very hard to assess this risk."

"There is also much uncertainty about the future and this disease because we don't know if this transmission will stop. What we have seen in endemic countries as usually we have self-limiting outbreaks, and so we hope it will be exactly the same with the current one," she added.


According to WHO, monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease and typically lasts two to four weeks. It may be severe in children, pregnant women or persons with immune suppression due to other conditions. The incubation period is usually six to 13 days, but it can be longer, from five to 21 days.

Typical symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache, backache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and skin rashes or lesions.

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