Port Health Office Urged to Be Vigilant Regarding International Travelers in Light of Monkeypox


The Indonesian government remains vigilant in its efforts to curb the potential spread of monkeypox, a contagious viral disease that has raised concerns. To address this challenge, the Ministry of Health has issued a directive to all port health offices across Indonesia, urging them to closely monitor travelers from abroad, especially given the recent cases reported in the country.

Achmad Farchanny Tri Adryanto, Director of Surveillance and Quarantine Health at the MoH, emphasized the importance of this directive, outlined in a Circular on Increased Awareness of Monkeypox (Mpox) in Indonesia.

The circular, signed by Maxi Rein Rondonuwu, Director-General for Disease Prevention and Control at the MoH on October 18, 2023, underlines the significance of maintaining a high level of vigilance at these critical entry points.

The call for vigilance doesn’t stop at port health offices; it extends to health departments, public health laboratories, hospitals, health centers, and various healthcare facilities. These measures aim to ensure that potential cases of monkeypox are detected and managed promptly.

Achmad further elucidated the core focus of these efforts, stating, “Port health offices, numbering 51 across Indonesia, have received specific guidelines from the Directorate-General for Disease Prevention and Control. The primary emphasis is on increasing vigilance concerning travelers arriving from foreign destinations, particularly those where monkeypox is prevalent.”

Monkeypox is a viral disease that can manifest with symptoms similar to smallpox, including skin rashes and fever. Early detection is essential for prompt treatment and containment of the disease.

Achmad also emphasized the need for heightened vigilance, especially when travelers are arriving from areas known for their prevalence of monkeypox. These regions include countries like the United States, Thailand, Singapore, and various European countries. Travelers from these areas require particular attention to ensure that potential cases are identified early.

“If travelers display symptoms resembling monkeypox,” Achmad advised, “they should undergo thorough medical examinations, and in cases where necessary, samples should be collected for further analysis. In some instances, patients may be referred to specialized referral hospitals for comprehensive care.”

As of September 26, 2023, global data indicated a total of 90,618 confirmed cases of monkeypox across 115 countries, with 157 documented fatalities. The situation underscores the seriousness of the disease and the need for robust preventive measures.

In Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, the Jakarta Health Office (Dinkes) confirmed another case of monkeypox, bringing the total number of cases identified since 2022 to eight. This highlights the ongoing challenges faced in managing the outbreak.

Among these eight cases, seven individuals are currently active cases, indicating that they are still undergoing treatment and have not yet fully recovered. These patients are receiving medical care in local hospitals.

The active cases are undergoing isolation in healthcare facilities. Specifically, these cases include those identified on October 13, 2023, October 19, 2023, and five more cases discovered on October 21, 2023. This ongoing situation emphasizes the need for continued vigilance and a coordinated public health response.

Separately, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has initiated a vaccination campaign aimed at administering monkeypox vaccinations to 500 individuals at high risk of exposure to the virus. These high-risk groups include men who have sex with men (MSM), pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, children, and the elderly. The vaccination campaign, which commenced on October 23, 2023, is expected to be completed within the next five days.

The availability of monkeypox vaccines is a critical step in preventing the spread of the disease within these high-risk communities. The initiative is part of the government’s broader strategy to address the monkeypox outbreak, protect public health, and ensure that those at risk are effectively shielded from the virus.

In summary, the Indonesian government is taking comprehensive measures to address the monkeypox outbreak. These measures encompass heightened vigilance at port health offices, expanded awareness in healthcare facilities, and vaccination campaigns targeting high-risk groups. These efforts underscore the commitment to protecting public health and ensuring the timely detection and containment of monkeypox cases in the country.