The Makati City government has formed a special team tasked to monitor cases of monkeypox and proactively prevent community transmission of viral respiratory infections.
“We formed a task force to proactively prevent monkeypox transmission in Makati. At the same time, we want to equip Makatizens with the right information about the virus and avoid the spread of fake news,” said Mayor Abigail Binay.
She said the Makati City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) conducted online orientations and seminars for frontliners in 26 barangay health centers as early as last month to brief them about the modes of transmission, prevention, detection, isolation, and treatment of monkeypox.
She said CESU is in close coordination with the Ospital ng Makati to monitor cases and will meet with officials of the Makati Medical Center and St. Clare’s Medical Center today (Monday) to discuss the city’s action plan in case of a monkeypox outbreak.
“We also plan to integrate monkeypox data into our COVID-19 tracker so that we can use data in making game-changing decisions like granular lockdowns to prevent community transmission,” she said.
Binay said the local government will continue to promote minimum public health protocols such as wearing face masks, observing physical distancing, and frequent hand washing since the monkeypox virus can be transmitted through respiratory droplets, bodily fluids, and contaminated objects.
She said CESU will refer suspected cases of monkeypox to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for proper testing.
If a person tests positive for monkeypox, CESU plans to use one of the three buildings of the Makati Friendship Suites in Barangay Cembo to monitor, isolate, and treat the patient.
Binay also said the city will provide free medicines and food packs to Yellow Card holders infected with the monkeypox virus.
She urged residents and non-resident workers to report persons with monkeypox symptoms to CESU through hotlines (02) 8870-1445, (02) 8870-1446, 09270727794, 09280492927, and 09396756390.
Last July 29, the Department of Health recorded the country’s first monkeypox case.
After 21 days of isolation, the patient has recovered from sickness, while 10 close contacts are still undergoing quarantine.
Meanwhile, with the monkeypox vaccine in short supply in the United States, thousands of foreigners, including Americans are flocking to Montreal to get their shots.
Canada’s second-largest city, located about 70 kilometers (43 miles) north of the US border in Quebec province, has decided to make the vaccine available to all those who consider themselves to be at risk. ackRobb Stilson, an art director from Denver, Colorado, took advantage of the opportunity during a visit to Montreal last week.
“It’s very difficult in the States to get vaccinated,” Stilson said as he lined up to get a shot at a pop-up vaccination center together with his husband and two daughters. “I’ve friends who have waited 8 or 9 hours to get in.”
Because contact tracing is difficult, authorities in Montreal decided to offer the vaccine to all those who are at risk to stem the spread of the virus.
Since the vaccination campaign was launched in mid-May, as soon as the first cases of monkeypox were detected, Montreal has inoculated 18,500 people, 13 percent of them foreigners.
The goal is to administer 25,000 doses and vaccinate some 75-80 percent of the population deemed to be at risk, in particular men who have sex with men or with multiple partners.
The US has so far delivered some 600,000 JYNNEOS vaccines—originally developed against monkeypox’s related virus, smallpox—but this number figure is still far short of the approximately 1.6 million people considered at highest risk and who need the vaccine most.
Some 99 percent of US cases have so far been among men who have sex with men, the Health and Human Services department said last week, and this is the population authorities are targeting in the national vaccination strategy.
In contrast to previous outbreaks in Africa, the virus is now predominantly spread through sexual activity—but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says other routes are also possible, including sharing bedding, clothing, and prolonged face-to-face contact. With AFP