Wildlife screening at Suvarnabhumi tightened as monkeypox spreads
The National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP) has tightened screening of wildlife imports as well as indigenous monkeys in a bid prevent monkeypox entering Thailand.
The new measures were adopted following a meeting of wildlife officials and businesses organised by the DNP. Attendees agreed on new screening guidelines for wildlife imports at airports. Meanwhile the DNP is seeking to restrict imports of wild animals until monkeypox-control measures are in place.
Prasert Sornsathapornkul, director of the CITES wild animals and plants protection division, said the meeting sought solutions amid growing concern over the global spread of monkeypox.
Thailand has a large population of indigenous monkeys that could act as carriers of the disease.
Also present at the meeting were DNP Wildlife Health Management Division chief Pattarapol Maneeon and officials from wildlife checkpoints at Suvarnabhumi and other airports.
As of Monday, there had been no reports of monkeypox cases detected in Thailand.
Pattarapol said monkeypox had been added to the list of diseases screened for in the DNP’s regular surveys of monkeys in Thailand. He highlighted the risks of wildlife staff being infected by secretions from the animals, adding DNP staff had been told to wear gloves and footwear during checks on monkeys.
He also advised people worried about monkeypox to monitor the news closely and avoid contact with potential monkeypox carriers such as rodents and primates. They should also wash their hands with soap and clean water immediately after touching these animals and see a doctor immediately if they develop symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches and rash.
Meanwhile the DNP is checking health histories of all animals imported from Africa over the past year.
Monkeypox is endemic in central and west Africa but has spread to more than 20 countries across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia this month.