The Risk Communications Officer of the Ghana Veterinary Services Directorate, Dr Benjamin KissiSasu, says the COVID-19 preventive protocol of hand hygiene, social distancing and mask wearing were useful to keep Monkeypox at bay.
Additionally, he has cautioned the public not to think of the disease as less deadly but rather keep to the precautionary measures to minimise risk of being infected.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times yesterday on the gradual rise in Monkeypox cases in the country, DrSasu said, “althoughMonkeypox isn’t deadly like COVID-19, one could lose his or her life depending on the level of immunity or underlying health conditions, if infected.”
“The protocols are still very relevant and we must continue with them; hand washing, keep physical distancing and avoid crowded areas, avoiding contact with animals that could harbor the virus and reporting early signs immediately at the nearest health facility,” he advised.
It would be recalled that in an address to update the public on health emergencies in the country last Thursday, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said from five confirmed cases of Monkeypox reported on June 8, 2022, cases have since risen to 18 as of June 14, 2022.
He said the infected persons were between the ages of nine months and 41 years and although no death had been recorded among the confirmed cases, the Service was picking cases from theGreater Accra, Ashanti, Bono and Eastern regions.
DrSasu said people should be on the lookout for early signs of Monkeypox including headache, fever, diarrhoea and skin rashes which was typical of the disease and report immediately to a health facility.
He further advised citizens to exercise restraint when dealing with animals saying, “as much as we cannot avoid animals entirely, people must be mindful of protective measures for them; build better shelter, vaccinate and get them to veterinary centres as soon as they are sick.”
“When people go to the zoo and other eco-parks, they need to obey rules around getting closer to the animals and in case of any suspicion, get authorities informed immediately so that we can reduce the spread of infections from animals to human beings,” he urged.
In the long term, DrSasu called for intensified collaboration, sharing of information and strengthen the country’s veterinary service directorates to bridge the gaps in human and animal health to inform policy making moving forward and secure the health and wellbeing of citizens.
Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease caused by the Monkeypox virus and spread from animals to humans by coming into contact with blood, body fluids and lesions of infected animals or consuming poorly cooked animal product.
It can also spread from human to human through droplets from coughing, sneezing, contact with blood, body fluids and rash of infected individuals or contact with contaminated clothing of infected animals.
It can take from five to 21 days for one to show symptoms of Monkeypox and typical signs include; fever, headache, body ache, weakness, swelling of lymph nodes and rashes that look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth and other parts of the body.
Latest update from the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that over 800 Monkeypox cases have been confirmed worldwide.