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Healthcare workers near Brazil border placed on alert as monkeypox rages in neighbouring region

With the recent surge in monkeypox cases from Brazil, Healthcare workers operating near the border have been alerted to watch out for signs and symptoms from persons entering Guyana.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports approximately 51200 cases of monkeypox globally as of yesterday. This is across about 125 countries, reporting a total of 17 deaths.

Approximately 28000 of these cases have come from the Americas, with the majority recorded in the United States and Brazil. Recent statistics show Brazil has approximately 4876 active cases of monkeypox.

Acknowledging that cases have been on the rise in the region of the Americas since June this year and noting that Guyana tends to have a heavy intake of visitors from Brazil, Chief Medical Officer Dr Narine Singh says precautionary measures are in place.

“With regards to surveillance for persons coming in, as I mentioned before, we wouldn’t know if someone has monkeypox unless they present with lesions. What we’re doing is putting up posters at the airport at the point of entry to alert persons that should they present (with rashes) they should report to the health authorities. But somebody could come in with lesions, and they have on long sleeve shirts and not report it.”

Guyana has placed an order with PAHO for shipments of smallpox vaccines and antiviral treatments for monkeypox. While these are in global shortage due to high demand, vaccines are expected near the end of this month.

Dr Singh added that Guyana is adequately equipped to handle any further persons testing positive for monkeypox since the Ministry of Health has been implementing measures since May this year.

“The thing is to sensitise the persons at the airport, at the bridge crossing at Lethem, and at Ogle. We know the border at Brazil is very, very porous; there are about 39 crossing points. So, we have alerted the persons, the healthcare providers in those areas – if they see persons coming over, to activate the system.”

Top local healthcare officials have urged persons to follow precautions and reach out to their local healthcare facility or the monkeypox hotline if they or someone they know may be experiencing the symptoms.

These symptoms include fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymphnodes), back pain, myalgia (muscle aches), and intense asthenia (lack of energy), which may occur either before or after skin rashes.

It is important to note that the virus is only transmissible when rashes are visible on an infected person. It is no longer transmissible when lesions have scabbed over and healed.

Transmission occurs through contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions of an infected person, or recently contaminated objects.

The interval from infection to onset of symptoms for monkeypox is typically from six to 13 days but can range from five to 21 days.


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