The Union government has allowed the Tamil Nadu Health Department to conduct tests for detection of monkeypox disease at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research in Chennai, state Health Minister Ma Subramanian said on Thursday, July 28.The Minister for Medical and Family Welfare, after inspecting the facility, said instead of sending the samples of patients who show symptoms of the disease to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, the tests can be done at King Institute itself.Recalling the spread of the disease, Subramanian said the virus, which was initially detected in the United Kingdom, has now spread to over 77 countries and nearly 20,000 people have been affected by it so far.”The World Health Organisation has issued directives to protect ourselves from the virus.In India, four cases were reported from Kerala and New Delhi.In Tamil Nadu, there have been no monkeypox cases detected till date,” he told reporters.The Tamil Nadu government has intensified screening of passengers at the four international airports in the state by randomly selecting 2% of passengers who arrive from the affected countries, he said.”We have set up mass fever-screening camps, and conduct saturation tests on passengers,” he said.The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has announced that laboratories would be set up in 15 locations across the country to conduct tests for monkeypox disease, he said.”Instead of sending the samples to NIV, Pune, the Tamil Nadu government requested for a laboratory in the State, as one among the 15 locations announced by ICMR.Based on the request, the Centre on Wednesday allowed the King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research to hold tests for detection of monkeypox disease,” he said.The King Institute has set up a dedicated laboratory to conduct the tests for patients who show symptoms of monkeypox.”The venue at Mamallapuram is a completely sanitised area and we have deployed special medical teams to assist the players round the clock.Details about doctors who are available and their phone numbers have been distributed to the players in the form of a handbook,” the Minister added.

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