Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Vice-Chancellor (VC) Professor Dr Sharfuddin Ahmed said there is no monkeypox patient in Bangladesh and suggested that people should not pay attention to any type of rumour and not to be panicked.
"No patient of this disease [monkeypox] has been identified in Bangladesh as yet. We have dealt with Covid and Black Fungus and did not let panic spread. Similarly, we are ready to handle monkeypox too," he said at a press conference in BSMMU on Tuesday.
This disease is usually self-limited. So, contact with infected or suspected animals should be avoided. It is essential to stay away from animal bites, scratches and contact with saliva or urine. Infected patients must be hospitalised and treated with isolation and quarantine until all wounds dry, Sharfuddin Ahmed added.
On Monday, a rumour was spread from Noakhali on social media that a monkeypox patient was identified at the BSMMU. Some responsible media personnel brought the issue to the attention of BSMMU authorities, he added.
Later, BSMMU sought help from the police, and with a prompt investigation, the police found that the rumour was spread from the Facebook account of Dr Asif Wahid Ork, assistant surgeon at Senbagh Health Complex in Noakhali. However, Dr Asif said he did not post the news and there is no such patient in the health complex database, he said further.
On Tuesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said there have been 131 confirmed monkeypox cases and 106 suspected cases since the first case was reported on 7 May outside the countries where it usually spreads.
While the outbreak is unusual, it remains "containable" and limited, the WHO said, and it is convening further meetings to support member states with more advice on how to tackle the situation.
Monkeypox is usually a mild viral infection that is endemic in parts of the west and central Africa. It spreads chiefly through close contact, and until the recent outbreak has only rarely been seen in other parts of the world. The majority of the recent cases have been reported in Europe.
"We encourage you all to increase the surveillance of monkeypox to see where transmission levels are and understand where it is going," said Sylvie Briand, WHO director for Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness.
She said it was unclear if the cases were the "tip of the iceberg" or if the peak in transmission has already passed.