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Nicosia general to act as reference hospital for monkeypox as plan finalised

file photo: illustration shows mock up vials labeled "monkeypox vaccine" and medical syringe

Nicosia General Hospital will serve as the reference hospital for monkeypox under new protocols to manage a possible outbreak, the health ministry said on Friday.

Although no cases have been detected in Cyprus, authorities have drawn up a management plan, in line with European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidelines advising quick identification (such as tests), management, contact tracing, and reporting of monkeypox (MPX) positives.

In its announcement on Friday, the health ministry cited the detection of an increased number of monkeypox cases worldwide – 219 confirmed cases up until May 25.

It said its protocols cover the procedure to manage suspected and confirmed cases, recording of cases based on established public health procedures (tracing of contacts, contact with cases) by the infectious disease monitoring unit of the public health authorities and procedures to transfer suspected cases.

Moreover, Nicosia Genera Hospital will serve as the reference hospital for suspected or confirmed cases among adults and Makarios Hospital for children.

Procedures will be set in motion so that the Nicosia General Hospital lab and the molecular virology lab of the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics (CING) develop lab tests for monkeypox. And agreements will be reached with labs abroad for possible immediate dispatch of samples, the ministry added.

In addition, Cyprus will participate in joint procurements by the EU to buy vaccines and anti-viral medicines.

The protocols also cover how suspected cases will be handled at entry points of the Republic.

“It is stressed that based on epidemiological data so far, the risk to the general population is low, as the illness is usually mild and self-confining, with relatively low transmissibility,” the ministry said.

“To date, no suspected case of monkeypox has been recorded in our country,” it concluded.

The protocols were finalised after health officials held a teleconference on Thursday, a follow-up from Tuesday’s meeting, during which they discussed the procedures and protocols that will be implemented should a monkeypox case be detected in Cyprus.

Citing sources from the health ministry, the Cyprus News Agency had reported that the vaccination committee will meet on Friday to discuss whether certain population groups require vaccination against the monkeypox.

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