The National Institute of Health (NIH) on Tuesday said that no cases of monkeypox cases have yet been detected in Pakistan as it clarified that 'news' to the contrary circulating on social media was "incorrect".
The clarification from the institute comes a day after it issued an alert, calling upon national and provincial health authorities to remain on high alert for any suspected case of monkeypox.
According to the NIH, no case of the virus has been reported in Pakistan so far and steps to pre-empt a potential outbreak in the country have already been taken, with arrangements made at all airports — including medical screenings — in order to identify any infected passengers.
"The NIH clarifies that no case of monkeypox has yet been diagnosed in Pakistan," the institute stated in a statement issued today.
"The situation is being closely monitored by the health authorities," it added.
As monkeypox spreads differently from Covid-19, the NIH has encouraged people to stay informed from reliable sources on the extent of the outbreak in their community (if any), its symptoms and prevention.
The NIH alert from a day ago stated that monkeypox was a rare viral zoonotic disease that was caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Although the natural reservoir of monkeypox is unknown, African rodents and non-human primates like monkeys may harbour the virus and infect people.
The alert said the disease could be transmitted through contact with infected animals, humans or materials contaminated with the virus. The virus enters the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract or the mucous membranes like the eyes, nose or mouth.
The patient develops a rash within one to three days after the appearance of fever, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body. Other symptoms include headache, muscle aches, exhaustion and lymphadenopathy.
The incubation period is usually seven to 14 days but can range from five to 21 days. The illness typically lasts for two to four weeks.