Guyana to ‘ramp up’ monkey pox precautionary measures


While Guyana has seen no case of monkey pox, the Health Ministry is in discussions to procure medication as a preparatory and precautionary measure.

Noting that Barbados on Saturday confirmed a case of monkey pox in the country, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony on Monday said that Guyana is in preliminary discussions to try to procure small pox vaccines. He explained that the small pox vaccines are used in some countries to treat the monkey pox virus.

“In more developed countries, if a person has been exposed, they would vaccinate them with special vaccines that was designed for small pox but works against monkey pox as well, we are making some attempts to procure those vaccines,” Dr Anthony said during the COVID-19 update.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when properly administered before an exposure, the small pox vaccine can effectively protect people against monkey pox.

There is not a medication specially for the virus, but the minister said hopefully pharmaceutical companies will develop a medication soon.

“Right now there are some antiretroviral treatment that is available, it is not widely available in the world so very few countries have access to these medicines.”

“The treatment is more symptomatic, if you get some fever they will treat you for fever, if you get some itch, they will treat you for that but to treat the disease or suppress the virus we don’t have those medication.”

Dr Anthony also discussed symptoms persons should be aware of but noted that not all related symptoms is an indicator that it is the disease. He urges that persons let the clinical technicians run tests to confirm. Medical practitioners, through training and advisories, are equipped to handle any detection, he assured.

The most common symptom is a rash. Following exposure, it will take between five to 13 days for the infection to become noticeable and it can last up to 21 days “and then everything should get back to some level of normalcy.”

Last month, the Minister said intensified capacity-building efforts to ensure that the presence of monkeypox is readily detected in Guyana were made.

Health personnel have been sent to Jamaica for surveillance training. Laboratory personnel also learned how to detect and treat the virus. The Health Ministry remains attentive to skin rashes and fevers which are common symptoms.

Cases have been recorded in neighboring countries Venezuela, Brazil and as of Saturday, Barbados.

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