December 8, 2023

Monkeypox hates Liberia for the Second Time

……As National Public Health Institute of Liberia Alert Public

The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia has alerted the General Public of the outbreak of Monkeypox in Liberia.

On July 23, 2022, the National Public Health Reference Laboratory confirmed a positive case of Monkeypox in the country. This is the second time Monkeypox has been confirmed in Liberia, the first time was in 2018 by US CDC.

According to the Health authorities, monkeypox, previously thought to be endemic only in West and Central Africa, is now being reported outside Africa in other regions around the world, Health authority says.

“The reasons for this unusual pattern are unknown currently, NPHIL noted.”

As of July 22, 2022, the World Health Organization has reported 16,000 confirmed cases globally from 70 counties in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Monkeypox is a rare viral zoonotic disease with symptoms in humans like smallpox.

These include fever, headache, muscle pains, blistering rash, and swollen lymph. It is transmitted from animal to human through contact and from human to human through respiratory droplets, contact with lesions, and other body fluid, WHO revealed.

According to NPHIL, they have heightened surveillance in Maryland and adjacent counties as well as all ports of entry.

NPHIL is calling on the public to avoid getting in contact with animals that could harbor the virus such as monkeys, anteaters, hedgehogs, prairie dogs, squirrels, and shrews.

They further warned the public to report any skin disease or strange illness that looks like chicken pox and all cases of individuals presenting with fever, headache, muscle pains, blistering rash, and swollen lymph.

Monkeypox is a viral disease discovered in laboratory monkeys in 1958. The disease most commonly occurs in central and west Africa, many animal species and humans can be infected. In 2003, monkeypox infected several people in the United States after they had contact with infected prairie dogs. The monkeypox virus is closely related to the viruses that cause smallpox and cowpox in humans.

 Old and New World monkeys and apes, a variety of rodents (including rats, mice, squirrels, and prairie dogs), and rabbits are susceptible to infection. The complete range of animal species that can be infected by the monkeypox virus is still not known; other wild and domestic animals may be susceptible.

 Monkeypox is spread by direct contact between infected and uninfected animals. This can possibly be through skin abrasions or through the air in aerosols. In non-human primates, monkeypox is usually a rash that lasts for 4 to 6 weeks; these sores or “pocks” can be seen over the entire body but are most common on the face, limbs, palms, soles, and tails.

Death is rare but can be seen in infant monkeys. Some monkeys can be infected with the virus but show no signs of illness. In rabbits and rodents, including prairie dogs, the initial signs include fever, reddened eyes, runny nose, cough, swollen glands, depression, and loss of appetite.

Later, a rash with small swellings, containing pus (“pocks”), and patchy hair loss can develop. In some animals, pneumonia or death can occur. Signs of illness start about 12 days after exposure. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, chills, sore throat, swollen glands (lymph nodes), and fatigue.

 Usually, within 1 to 3 days, a rash with raised bumps develops, on the arms and legs and possibly the face and torso. Later, these sores develop into “pocks”, blister-like lesions containing pus.

 In the final stages, these sores crust over, form scabs, and eventually fall off. Illness generally lasts 2 to 4 weeks and most people recover fully. Vaccination (used in smallpox vaccination) can protect non-human primates from monkeypox. For all other animals, the best method of prevention is to avoid exposure to animals or people infected with monkeypox.

 Avoid exposure to animals or people infected with the monkeypox virus. Although the smallpox vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of monkeypox, it is only recommended for persons involved with monkeypox outbreak investigations or those who have close contact with or care for people or animals infected with the virus. Vaccination can be given up to 14 days after exposure.

Photo Credit: Google search

Reported bY: G. Watson Richards

Contact: +231880381808/+231775807140


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