Amid fears the Monkeypox virus could take up permanent residence in wildlife outside Africa, forming a reservoir that could lead to repeated human outbreaks, the Central Zoos Authority (CZA) has asked zoos States to take adequate precautionary measures to keep the virus infectious. zoonotic disease at hand.
While India has reported ten cases of Monkeypox in humans so far, more than 50,000 such incidents have been recorded in the global outbreak.
Emphasizing that people can become infected with the virus through direct contact with infected animals, often when hunting, trapping and processing infected animals or infected animal body parts and fluids, the CZA, in its circular to the States, also warned that small mammals can carry the Orthopoxvirus causing Monkeypox, sometimes without apparent symptoms, while non-human primates can contract the disease and show signs of illness like humans.
In its circular sent to all states a few days ago, the statutory body of the Union Ministry of Environment set up to oversee the operation of zoos in the country, reminded the officials concerned that “the virus monkeypox can infect a wide range of mammalian species, including monkeys, anteaters, hedgehogs, prairie dogs, squirrels, shrews, and dogs.
Not all animals can get a rash when they have monkeypox. Infected animals can transmit Monkeypox virus to humans, and it is possible for infected people to transmit the virus to animals through close contact.
The CZA also asked zoo authorities to be extremely careful because “monkeypox virus can be found in the monkeypox rash (scabs, scabs, fluids) and infected body fluids, including including respiratory secretions, and potentially in urine and faeces”.
The circular gives details of clinical signs such as the presence of visible skin lesions while species known as possible “reservoirs” are unlikely to show any clinical signs of infection. Animal health professionals should monitor animal species showing increased body temperature, changes in appetite, conjunctivitis and/or discharge from the eyes, coughing or sneezing, and abnormal sounds on auscultation of the lungs , in accordance with the circular.
The circular also focuses on the precautionary measures to be taken in the event of detection of a case of Monkeypox, if necessary.
The Monkeypox outbreak was reported in 2003 when all 35 confirmed cases in humans were caused by direct contact with infected prairie dogs. This time, the infection is also said to occur through human-to-human contact.
In fact, in 1964 there was an outbreak of Monkeypox at Rotterdam Zoo, where two giant anteaters from Central and South America were first identified with the disease. Until then, Monkeypox was thought to only occur in primates.
Housed in a large enclosure, the Monkeypox virus then spread to several orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, guenons, squirrel monkeys, macaques, marmosets and gibbons, according to various reports.