KARACHI, Pakistan - The first case of mpox in Pakistan has been confirmed by the National Institute of Health in the capital Islamabad.

A traveler who recently arrived in Pakistan tested positive and has been isolated at a hospital in the capital, along with other individuals who are being tested, a health ministry press release said.

There is no evidence of localized transmission of the viral disease in Pakistan, the NIH added.

Mpox - which spreads via close contact and tends to cause flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions - was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization in July 2022. The organisation maintained its alert in November.

On Nov. 28 the WHO named the disease mpox to replace the older term monkeypox, citing concerns of stigma and racism associated with the name.

In Pakistan, the NIH, provincial health departments, border health services and district health authorities have been advised to ensure surveillance through laboratory diagnostics, contact tracing, rapid identification of suspected cases, and to provide care and isolate cases to prevent transmission.

Since May 2022, 22 samples were tested from inspected cases from different parts of the country.

(Writing by Ariba Shahid in Karachi, Editing by William Maclean)