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Nose mask, hand sanitizer can prevent monkeypox -Virologist

Source The Ghana Report

Wearing of nose mask, usage of hand sanitisers, and practising social distancing can prevent the spread of monkeypox, a virologist with the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research, Dr. Michael Owusu, has said.

“Application of hand sanitiser is very crucial, even the use of mask and avoiding body contact as much as you can,” he recommended.

Ghana recorded its first five cases of monkeypox in the Eastern, Western, and Greater Accra regions in June 2022.

Announcing it to the press, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said, “So far since the outbreak in Europe occurred, we tested 12 suspected cases in Ghana since 24 May. Currently, we have confirmed five cases in three regions – Eastern, Western, and Greater Accra – this is where we discovered the five cases. No death has occurred among the cases here”.

There are currently no vaccines for monkeypox in the country but Dr. Michael Owusu believes it can be curtailed if safety protocols are adhered to.

Allaying heightened fears, the virologist said the mortality rate of monkeypox is not as high as that of Covid, which was close to 10 per cent.

“Monkeypox causes discomfort, body weakness, and sometimes fever but it is unlikely to cause death. Even if there will be cases of death, you need to have large numbers of it in people who are mostly already weak, they are those who are likely to die,” he told 3news.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral infection that is more common in West and Central Africa. There’s a recent spike in cases as over 100 infections were confirmed (or suspected) in Europe and some other countries.

A top European health official warned on 20 May that cases of the rare monkeypox virus could accelerate in the coming months.

As of 21 May, the WHO received reports of 92 laboratory-confirmed monkeypox cases and 28 suspected cases from 12 countries where the disease is not endemic.

WHO expects more cases of monkeypox to emerge globally.

Causes 

The virus generally spreads to people from infected wild animals such as rodents and primates but human-to-human transmission can also occur. Similar to viruses like Ebola, transmission only happens in close proximity by contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, or contaminated materials such as bedding or clothes.

Symptoms begin with fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days.

Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body. The illness typically lasts for 2−4 weeks.

In Africa, monkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 persons who contract the disease.

It can be prevented through vaccination.

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