Hospital space being prepared to cater for any monkeypox cases
Although Guyana has no detected monkeypox cases, the Ministry of Health continues training to treat, diagnose and make space at the Infectious Diseases Hospital at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, in the event of an outbreak here.
This was revealed by Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony during his daily COVID-19 update on Thursday.
The minister said Guyana has the equipment to conduct tests for detection of the virus at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory and a training programme for laboratory personnel commenced on Thursday.
The programme is being conducted by laboratory personnel who received training for detection, diagnoses and treatment by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).
Discussing testing for traces of the virus, the minister said: “We have the re-agents, we have the equipment – so we can be able to do that at the national reference lab.
“Today we have training going on and what we have done is to take lab and medical personnel from all regional hospitals; so that if they do have a case they would have the right techniques of how to take, store and transport the tests.
“We are preparing although we don’t have any cases.”
Dr Anthony added that the WHO reported that hospitalization is necessary for some persons who are infected with the monkeypox virus. Even though the country doesn’t have any detected cases, he said the ministry is facilitating space at the Infectious Disease Hospital as a preparatory measure.
“According to the WHO among the persons who have been confirmed with monkeypox about 17 to 18 per cent would require hospitalization. So whenever we get cases, hopefully, we do not [get cases, but if we do] and they would require hospitalization we have re-purposed a section of the ocean view facility to prepare for such cases,” the Health Minister said.
In addition, the minister said in the event of any case being detected, the ministry will review all possible traces as to when and where the person became infected.
“A person who presents with monkeypox, we can, first of all, gather the history of that person. Most of those persons might have travelled to a place where they might have been in contact with a person who was infected, so travel history is very important when we are reviewing these cases,” he noted.
The minister said that fever, lesions and Lymphadenopathy, and the swelling of lymph nodes, are some symptoms to look out for. Rashes are also a key indicator of monkeypox infection. But the minister reminded that “there are other rashes that one would have to differentiate against, and the clinicians would have to do that.”
The minister further said a common trend observed is that young men are being infected. He importantly added that anyone can become infected with monkeypox.
Recently monkeypox was declared a global health emergency. The exports at WHO said the outbreak was largely among men who have sex with men who had reported having sex recently with new or multiple partners. However, experts have stressed that anyone can get monkeypox as it is spread by close or intimate contact. The UN warned that some media portrayals of Africans and LGBTQ+ people “reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes and exacerbate stigma”.