Georgetown – Health authorities said on Tuesday they do not believe Guyana will experience an outbreak of monkeypox after the first case was recorded 24 hours earlier.
Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony said authorities were already on the lookout for any one who may become infected with both the monkeypox and the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We would be on the lookout for such combinations, and if they do occur, the doctors will come up with the appropriate way of treating it,” he said, adding that a committee of specialists was established to assist people get guidance and information should they suspect that they have the disease.
The first case in the country, a 57-year-old man from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) is currently isolated at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Liliendaal.
Dr Anthony said several people who were recently in contact with the patient have since been placed in quarantine for monitoring.
“Monkeypox is relatively rare, we only have one case now in Guyana, the patient is very stable, and in the next 14 days, that patient should be discharged, once everything goes well,” Dr Anthony said. “So, we don’t expect a lot of cases.”
The health minister said Guyana now had the capacity to detect the virus from a diagnostic point of view and adequate laboratory re-agents were also sourced to conduct testing at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory.
“Our staff went to Jamaica, they received that training, came back and they have in turn trained a lot of people in the country, so we have capacity to be able to detect the virus,” he said.
“We also made sure that we bought the relevant laboratory re-agents, so that if we have to run the test, we have that capability of running the test. At our National Public Health Reference Lab, we have several PCR machines, and we have configured one of them to be able to do these tests specifically for monkeypox.”
More than 42 000 cases of monkeypox have been detected in 95 countries including Barbados, Jamaica, The Bahamas, and Bermuda.
The symptoms for the virus includes a rash that initially looks like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
Other symptoms can include, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches and backache, headache, as well as sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough.