Health officials worried about monkeypox cases during Pride parade next week
The Disease Control Department (DCD) on Thursday expressed concern that the first cases of monkeypox in Thailand may emerge next week when a lot of foreign LGBT members attend the Pride parade in Bangkok.
The concerns were aired by Jakkarat Pitthayawonganon, director of the epidemiology division of the DCD.
The Pride parade is scheduled for June 5 to celebrate sexual diversity while raising issues of gay marriage, social justice and gender inequality.
The procession is scheduled to start at 4pm at Maha Uma Devi Temple, or Wat Khaek, on Pan Road, ending at Silom Road.
Jakkarat said no suspected and confirmed monkeypox cases have been detected in Thailand so far.
“But during the week when there is the Pride parade in Bangkok, monkeypox cases are expected,” Jakkarat said.
He explained that the event would draw many participants from abroad so some infected people might be among them.
He said Thailand would have to keep close surveillance on arrivals on direct flights from the countries where the cases have been found, such as central African nations, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain and Canada. He added that the health officials would also watch arrivals from Germany.
Jakkarat said the organisers of the event did not contact the Public Health Ministry to seek cooperation on observation measures during the event.
But the Public Health Ministry will closely watch patients who may see doctors in Bangkok hospitals for possible monkeypox cases, Jakkarat added.
He said monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD) but the ministry is seeking cooperation from the network of agencies taking care of STDs because monkeypox can be transmitted through intimate contact with infected persons.
He said the STD clinics were asked to alert the ministry if they detected any suspicious case.
Jakkarat said if participants at the parade practise universal prevention measures, it would be hard for them to get infected because the disease is transmitted only via close contact.
He also urged participants of the parade to see a doctor if they get blisters.
Jakkarat said the disease has an incubation period of 5 to 21 days, so people who are in close contact with persons suspected to have the virus should monitor themselves for at least three weeks.
“After the Pride parade, even if the participants do not have blisters, they should practice universal prevention measures and stay away from the others as much as possible,” Jakkarat said.