All suspected monkeypox cases in Guyana were negative – Dr. Anthony

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As Guyana awaits the procurement of vaccines for monkeypox, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony has confirmed that there were suspected cases locally for which tests have returned negative results for the infection, declared by Global Health as a world health emergency.

Speaking with the News Room at the sidelines of an event on Wednesday, the Minister said suspected cases of monkeypox were observed and following thorough observation and testing, it was confirmed that Guyana still has no monkeypox cases.

“We probably may have had maybe one or two suspected cases and when we did all the analysis, ran all the tests it was something else, it wasn’t monkeypox.”

“We haven’t had any cases, we are hopeful that it remains that way but we have to be vigilant,” Dr Anthony said.

On Tuesday, the minister said that the country’s entry ports are being monitored. He explained that multiple persons are traveling from countries that have cases to Guyana.

Over 98 countries have detected cases with neighbouring Brazil, which is separated from Guyana by a large but porous border, recording more than 1,000 cases.

Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony

The Minister also said that efforts were made through the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) to procure monkeypox vaccines. Bavarian Nordic is the sole licensed distributor of the monkeypox vaccines. PAHO has negotiated a special price for the vaccines to supply them to several countries in the Americas, including Guyana.

“They (PAHO) have negotiated a special price so we are part of this PAHO mechanism and we have put in our allocation and we are now awaiting when that purchase would be made so that we can access vaccine through that mechanism,” Dr Anthony explained.

Importantly, he reminded that “Right now we don’t have any cases, we have remained alert but we just want to have this vaccine just in case.”

Guyana is equipped to run tests and properly diagnose monkeypox cases should any infected person come here.

Laboratory practitioners were sent to Jamaica and later Brazil to receive training from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). These persons have since engaged in local training sessions here to extend their knowledge to other medical practitioners here.

Re-agents for tests using samples of suspected infections were obtained and are being used to determine whether a person has monkeypox.

A special team of infectious disease specialists and dermatologists has been set up to respond when physicians have patients who show symptoms of monkeypox. In addition, a section of the infectious diseases hospital at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara, has been set up for house patients who may need hospitalisation.

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