Comply with advice to prevent monkeypox!

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has confirmed five out of 12 suspected monkeypox cases.

The confirmed cases were recorded in the Eastern, Western and Greater Accra regions and that another Ghanaian who travelled to the United States of America has been confirmed as having the disease.

The virus causing Monkeypox was discovered in 1958 in researched monkeys in Africa, but first surfaced in humans in 1970 in the DR Congo.

Ever since that time, it has become a global public health concern because even though it is endemic in West and Central African sub-regions, due to human contacts through travels, the virus is everywhere.

For instance, it is said that as of May 26, this year, 24 countries in the Americas, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East in addition to Australia had reported more than 350 suspected and confirmed cases of the disease.

Its symptoms include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, muscle and back aches, general body weakness and rash with blisters on the face, hands, feet, eyes, mouth, back, stomach or genitals.

Monkeypox usually spreads through close contact and respiratory droplets, but researchers have suggested sexual transmission might have occurred among patients with genital ulcers.

Some information states that the sexual transmission cases are mostly among men having sex with other men.

Experts say the zoonotic is endemic in West and Central Africa and its virus occasionally causes outbreaks elsewhere in the world, but most are quickly contained or peter out by themselves.

However, Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has long studied monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, says the current outbreak looks very different because the virus is not behaving like its normal self, which calls for concern.

Rimoin states in a report put online on June 1 that “We now have to really reevaluate what we know about monkeypox—which has all been gleaned, essentially, from low-resource settings in Africa—in very, very different kinds of populations,” and he is supported by epidemiologist Rosamund Lewis, head of poxvirus diseases at the World Health Organisation (WHO).

They say, for instance, that its lesions can resemble those of chickenpox and syphilis, which is baffling.

The WHO says even if just a case is detected in a country, that country is classified among endemic countries, hence Ghana was classified as such when the disease was first detected in animals in the country in 2003.

Now that it is detected in humans here, the country is grouped with Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan in Africa. 

The GHS says currently there is no specific treatment for the disease, that most cases are mild to moderate and that there is sympathetic treatment for mild symptoms such as antipyretics for fever and analgesic for pain.

Though the disease can kill, the GHS says so far there has not been any fatality in the country but has urged Ghanaians to take the necessary precaution by avoiding skin-to-skin, face-to-face and month-to-skin contact.

In addition, Ghanaians must ensure keeping hands, objects, surfaces, beds and their towels clean.

While the Ghanaian Times believes that the GHS is capable of handling the situation, it wishes to appeal to Ghanaians to comply with all the necessary guidelines to prevent catching the disease.

The public must not wish away monkeypox as some of them did COVID-19 because even the experts say they are worried because of the changing nature of monkeypox virus.

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