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Guyana recorded its second case of the virus on Monday.
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony is urging citizens to take the necessary steps to safeguard themselves against monkeypox.
“We have diagnosed a second person with monkeypox. That person is now at Ocean View Hospital receiving treatment. The person is stable and we have started doing contact tracing for that person.
“People need to take precautions. If you have somebody with rashes you should call the health authorities so that we can have somebody go out there and examine what it is and be able to guide the person,” Dr Anthony said, during his daily COVID-19 update.
The minister assured citizens that the health ministry is doing all within its remit to ensure the virus is contained here in Guyana.
“So, we have had several calls, we checked it, we ran tests and many of those persons, fortunately, did not have monkeypox,” he stated.
More than a month ago, a special unit was established at the infectious diseases hospital to accommodate anyone who might test positive for the virus locally.
The administration has also set up a steering committee and trained several regional health officials at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory.
The monkeypox virus is transmitted through close contact with an infected person. Once infected, the incubation period can last from 7 to 21 days.
Before the appearance of lesions, infected persons can experience symptoms like myalgia, swollen lymph nodes, swelling in the neck and headaches. As of August 22, a total of 42,666 cases were detected in 95 countries worldwide, with only 13 deaths being reported.
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.