(CMC) – Health officials in Guyana on Wednesday said despite undertaking contact tracing they are still unable to discover how the country recorded two cases of monkeypox virus.
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, during his daily health update, said that the patients – a 57-year-old public transportation driver and a woman in her 30s – had no recent history of travel, and gave a list of people who might have been exposed to the virus through contact with them.
“We have been in touch with names that the patients have given us. It is hard to find some of the contacts because the patients do not have any particulars on those persons but the immediate family members and persons who they have been in contact with regularly, those persons are in quarantine,” Dr Anthony told reporters.
He added that while it is difficult to track and trace everyone the infected people have been in contact with, “the immediate family is in quarantine and so far we haven’t seen any signs of anybody developing monkeypox.”
“I don’t think we will have large numbers of people infected and that is why once we are able to identify persons with monkeypox we have been isolating them to avoid further contact with them and we will continue to do that,” Dr Anthony said.
The Health Minister is calling on the public to take precautions including calling the monkeypox hotline ‘0449’ if they have any concerns or questions.
He said that medical personnel will be available to assist and give people advice.
As it relates to how long a person will need to be hospitalised after becoming infected, Dr Anthony said that depends on how the patient has been healing but generally from the time of exposure to the time a patient has clinical manifestation.
“Let’s say from the time of clinical manifestation they will probably be about 14 days or so because the disease itself in most instances will be a self-limiting disease so generally, 14 days to 21 days, that patient should feel well and will not be infectious and can be discharged,” Dr Anthony explained.
He added that people can develop complications, therefore, those patients will have to stay in the hospital for a longer period.
The symptoms of the virus include a rash that initially looks like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy. Other symptoms of monkeypox can include, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches and backache, headache as well as sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough.
So far the virus has been detected in Bermuda, Bahamas, Barbados and Jamaica.