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|Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony on Monday announced Guyana has its first case of monkeypox. According to the minister, the person is 57-year-old, is presently isolated at the infectious disease hospital, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara, and is in stable condition.
The virus was diagnosed using the PCR text. Persons who have been in close contact with the infected person have been contacted and are now in isolation, said Anthony.
The minister said Guyana has the diagnostic capabilities and over the months the ministry has trained physicians and laboratory staff on the virus. Information was however not given whether training was provided to hands-on healthcare providers like the nurses and aides who will have direct contact in providing care for infected persons.
The minister further sought to assure the public the government is taking all necessary measures to treat infected persons.
Key Facts on monkeypox as provided by World Health Organisation (WHO)
· Vaccines used during the smallpox eradication programme also provided protection against monkeypox. Newer vaccines have been developed of which one has been approved for prevention of monkeypox
· Monkeypox is caused by monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae.
· Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3–6%.
· Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus.
· Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
· Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of central and west Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.
· An antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox.
· The clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980. Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness.
· Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications.