First case of monkeypox confirmed in Guyana

-‘No need for restrictions, but responsibility’ – President Ali

The first case of monkeypox was today confirmed in Guyana.

The announcement was made by Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony. He informed that the person underwent a series of tests over the weekend.

Web Image of positive monkeypox test.

Dr Anthony said the male resident of Region Four, had all the signs and symptoms of monkeypox.

“We have been able to confirm that by using PCR to do the confirmatory diagnosis, so we now have our first case of monkeypox in Guyana, and we have since isolated the patient, so right now the patient is in an isolated area at the ocean view hospital and that patient is stable and is doing very well,” Dr Anthony said.

Dr Anthony added that persons who were in close contact with the individual are in quarantine, while assuring the public that the country has been preparing for this eventuality and is equipped to handle the situation.

“We have our labs that are prepared, we have a lot of people who have been trained, over the last couple of months we have trained a number of physicians we have trained, we have trained a number of laboratory staff, just in case we have cases what to do,”Dr Anthony noted.

The health minister is urging persons to take all precautions and follow all guidelines.

“I don’t want people to panic because monkey pox is not something that is readily transmissible, you have to be in very, very close contact with those persons and with the lesions on their skin and the liquids that comes out of those lesions before you can actually get sick, so this is something, once we keep managing it as we are doing right now, that people would be quite safe.”

He is urging anyone showing the typical clinical symptoms of monkeypox to report same to the health authorities so that the response team can be put in place to evaluate the suspected case.

Commenting on the situation, President, Dr Irfaan Ali said there is no need for restrictions, however, he noted that people need to be responsible.

“We don’t need any restrictions for this, what we need is responsibility, so for example the family there that the gentle man was around, they will be tested they will have some isolations around them and there will be contact tracing and tracking,” President Ali said. 

He noted too that Guyana is in the process of securing a limited supply of vaccines for the disease, however vaccinating the entire population is not feasible nor is it required.

“So, it will be based on what we see, what we see how the monitoring and the contact tracing goes nothing to be too alarmed about, it’s a public health crisis we have to deal with it and I am very confident that the ministry of health is prepared to deal with it, very, very confident,” the president said.

The transmission for monkeypox is through close contact with an infected person. Once infected, the incubation period can last from seven to 21 days.

Prior to the appearance of lesions, infected persons can experience symptoms like myalgia, swollen lymph nodes, swelling in the neck and headaches.   

So far, out of a total of 42,666 infected with monkeypox in 95 countries worldwide, 13 deaths have been reported.