GUYANA has recorded its first confirmed case of the Monkeypox virus with the first infected person already placed in institutional isolation.
This first case was confirmed on Monday by Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony in a recorded statement.
He noted that over the last weekend, there was a suspected case of monkeypox as the individual presented with all the clinical signs of the disease.
The case was confirmed as health officials were able to collect samples and do the required testing here.
The index case was identified as a male from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) who is currently in his 50s.
It was revealed that this patient does not have a recent travel history. He started developing signs of the Monkeypox and showed up at the hospital.
“We have since isolated the patient. So, that patient is now in an isolated area at the Ocean View Hospital, and that patient is stable and is doing very well,” Minister Anthony said.
He mentioned that some amount of contact tracing was done as persons who were in contact with the infected man were already contacted and are currently in quarantine.
Meanwhile, President, Dr. Irfaan Ali on the sidelines of an event on Monday, mentioned that Guyana has had systems in place since the announcement of the Monkeypox outbreak by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a public health emergency of international concern in July.
“We had the systems in place, so I’m very confident the Ministry of Health will be dealing with this. As a matter of fact, we have already ordered, some time ago, the vaccines although they are in very limited supply,” the President said.
President Ali went on to say that the system at the Ocean View facility has already been activated and with the confirmation of this first case, there will be greater monitoring.
He went on to add that at this time there will be no restrictions put in place as he mentioned that there is no need for those, calling instead for persons to be responsible.
President Ali also confirmed that the family of the man who is Guyana’s first case was already tested, and will be isolated even as contact tracing will take place.
According to the Health Minister, a lot of surveillance personnel at various borders and healthcare facilities in the country have already been trained to detect the virus.
To this end, he mentioned that the ministry has been working along with the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO), and through this collaboration, many persons were sent abroad for training and have returned and shared their knowledge to healthcare staff here.
The Health Minister said, “We have prepared for it. Our team is on the ball. They have been able to detect this, and we’re now working to treat the patient. The patient is stable, and we will continue working with that patient to make sure that everything is fine.”
He added that the ministry has already placed an order for some monkeypox vaccines which is currently in high demand across the world. The ministry he said has been working with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to source same.
Dr. Anthony went on to say that the hope is to have that first set of vaccines here within another month.
Monkeypox, according to the WHO, is a virus which is transmitted to humans with symptoms similar to those seen in smallpox patients.
The virus can be spread through animal to human transmission, and through direct contact with blood and other bodily fluids.
Human-to-human transmission can result from close contact with respiratory secretions or lesions of an infected person.