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How can we prevent the spread of monkeypox?

Following the identification of a case of monkeypox, health authorities have advised the public to avoid skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact with anyone who has symptoms. It’s also important to regularly wash hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub to avoid infection. Vientiane Times asked around for people’s thoughts on ways to prevent the spread of this virus, which is fortunately uncommon and rarely causes serious illness.


Ms Buavanh, a government official in Savannakhet province:  I read about this on social media, and the fact that the first case of the virus has been identified in Laos. Fortunately, monkeypox is not highly contagious like Covid and can only infect those who have come in direct contact with an infected person. The incubation period is usually 6 to 13 days, but can be from 5 to 21 days. However, it can be prevented if we follow the advice given by medical officials and avoid contact with wild ani-mals or people who might be infected. I urge the authorities to explain in more detail what we can do to avoid infection.

Ms Phim Souvixay, an employee in Xaysettha district, Vientiane: I saw the news and am a bit concerned that the first case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Laos. There is a high risk that the virus will spread widely if we don’t have serious preventive measures in place. The au-thorities should provide the public with more information so that we know how to protect ourselves against this virus. However, I believe that we can all work together to deal with the situation. I call on everyone to closely follow developments and take note of public health warnings and any information about more cases. If you are worried about any symptoms you may have, you should contact your healthcare provider.

Ms Bounma Manyvanh, a resident of Huaphan province: I don’t know much about this but I hope the virus doesn’t spread widely in Laos. The authorities should have a system in place to prevent the spread of this virus like others in the past. Information about ways to prevent its spread should be shared among local authorities along with district hospitals, especially in border areas. Rural people should also be properly in-formed so that they know how to protect themselves and understand that they should see a doctor if they develop symptoms.  

Ms Mailor, a student at the National University of Laos: Even though on-ly one case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Laos, everyone should remain alert to prevent an outbreak. We can reduce our risk of infection by regularly washing our hands with soap and water and avoiding close contact with anyone who has symptoms. Anyone who has been in close contact with someone infected by monkeypox is advised to isolate at home for up to 21 days.

By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update September 22, 2023)

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