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Breaking News! Liberia Confirms First ‘Monkeypox’ Disease

Authorities of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) have confirmed the first case of the Monkeypox disease in Liberia.

Addressing a joint Press Conference at the NPHIL head office in Paynesville, Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina S. Jallah, stated that sample collected and test from a traveler in Maryland County from Neighboring Ivory Coast has now proven to be the Monkeypox disease.

Health Minister Jallah And NPHIL DG

Dr. Jallah stated the patient 43 years is now being taken to an isolation center in the commercial district of Pleebo, Maryland County, and is undergoing medical treatment.

According to her, Liberia has now heightened its surveillance system to ensure active case detection at ports of entry, including the Roberts International Airport among others.

She further indicated that the country also has the capacity to detect, and conduct analysis of monkeypox sample within 24hrs, stressing, “So, there is no need for panic because we are on top of our game.”

Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease indigenous to Central Africa. In humans, the disease is similar to smallpox, though milder.

The symptoms of monkeypox follow about 12 days after people are infected with the virus. Usually the patient gets high fever, headache, muscle aches, and backache; their lymph nodes will swell, and they will feel tired.

During the first to third days (or longer) after the fever starts, patients experience rashes.  These rashes develop into raised bumps filled with fluid and often start on the face and spreads, but it can start on other parts of the body too. The bumps go through several stages before they get crusty, scab over, and fall off. The illness usually lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.

Also speaking during the press conference, NPHIL Director General, Jane McCauley further disclosed those NPHIL surveillance teams were conducting case findings and contact tracing of persons the victim came in contact with.

NPHIL DG-Jane McCauley

She however at the same time called on the public to avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus including animals that are sick or that have been found dead as well as report any skin disease or strange illness that looks like chicken pox.

“Report all cases of individuals presenting with fever, headache, muscle pains, blistering rash, and swollen lymph. You should also immediately isolate anyone showing the above signs and symptoms and contact the heath authorities immediate,” she advised.

For his part, WHO country Representative to Liberia, Dr. Peter Clements stated that WHO is in full readiness to work with its Liberian counterparts in managing and controlling further spread of the monkeypox virus.

He further informed the media that the WHO have already been duly notified about the confirmed case in line with the International Health Regulations (2005) protocol, noting that this is the second time Monkeypox has been confirmed inn Liberia, as the first time was in 2018 by USCDC.

Health Minister and WHO Rep. at the press conference

Dr. Coleman added, “As of July 22, 2022, the WHO has reported 16,000 confirmed cases globally from 70 countries in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. So, we are prepared and ready to help the Liberian government in tackling this disease.”

So far this year, in Africa, health officials have reported more than 70 deaths that they suspect were caused by monkey pox.

Writer’s email: billwincooper20@gmail.com

WhatsApp: +231770786013

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