Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, has announced that Ghana has recorded five cases of monkey pox, a virus which has since been identified in 32 countries, seven of which are in Africa.
These five cases, the Director-General said, were recorded in the Eastern, Western and the Greater Accra Region of the country.
Here’s a presentation of quick facts about the wide-spreading virus and its prevention methods by Fact-Check Ghana.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox originated from central and west Africa, close to the tropical rainforests, and has been spreading increasingly to other urban areas.
The America’s Center for Disease Control (CDC)says the incubation period of the monkey pox virus takes seven to 14 days.
The strain from Central Africa causes more severe infections and is more likely to cause death than West African monkeypox virus, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus can be transmitted through airborne droplets, a reason one is required to wear nose-masks in enclosed areas.
The CDC says within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body.
How do you contract the virus?
The primary channel of contracting the virus is through animals, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). These animals include rope squirrels, tree squirrels, Gambian pouched rats, dormice, non-human primates and other similar species.
Eating inadequately cooked meat and other animal products from infected animals is a possible risk factor according to Health experts.
What are the symptoms of monkey pox?
According to the CDC, these are some of the symptoms of the wide-spreading Monkeypox virus which has been reported in eight African countries as of yesterday, June 7.
- Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. However, severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3–6%.
- Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus.
- Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
- Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes, which ordinarily should function as filters, trapping viruses and bacteria. Its infection may lead to a range of medical complications.
Should you experience any of these symptoms, what should you do?
Should you be a resident in Ghana, you are required to visit the nearest Health facility or your local health directorate for medical attention and treatment.
What should you do to prevent contracting the virus?
- Ensure good ventilation at home
- Wash your hands often with soap under running water.
- Avoid contacts especially with persons suspected to have contracted the virus.
- Use face masks at populated and enclosed places
- Thoroughly cook all foods that contain animal meat or parts.