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Thursday, Dec 01, 2022

Lawmaker urges import of smallpox vaccines to prevent monkeypox

Lawmaker urges import of smallpox vaccines to prevent monkeypox

Government should import smallpox vaccines as an early preventive measure against monkeypox spread, lawmaker Kitson Yang Wing-kit said.
The viral infection has so far seen nearly 100 cases in more than 10 countries, while there is no specific vaccine or antiviral treatment for it for the time being.

Yang called on the government to make "advanced deployment", developing mechanisms to diagnose monkeypox, isolate patients and prevent it from being introduced into Hong Kong.

He suggested that the government should step up surveillance of people arriving in Hong Kong, especially those from high-risk areas. Questions related to the spread of monkeypox should be added to the health declaration form and travelers should have to report travel histories.

At the same time, arrivals with symptoms should inform the airline staff and quarantine staff at the airport and be arranged to be admitted to the hospitals.

Yang also said as there is no specific treatment for monkeypox, the outbreaks could only be controlled by preventing infection.

The smallpox vaccine is up to 85 percent effective against the monkeypox virus and the United Kingdom, where local cases have been detected, has started buying smallpox vaccines as a preventive measure.

In addition, the BGI Group announced on Tuesday to have started developing a nucleic acid test kit for the monkeypox virus, which the result can be obtained in 40 minutes with high specificity and sensitivity.

He believed that the government should introduce the smallpox vaccine as soon as possible and get the nucleic acid test kits to help infected patients to be diagnosed in time and improve the treatment rate.

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