The World Health Organization (WHO) has promised to work with Liberian health authorities on managing and controlling the further spread of the monkeypox virus in the country.
According to Peter Clements, Country Representative of the WHO to Liberia, the move comes after the country confirmed its first case of the monkeypox, which originated in Maryland County when a 42-year-old person entered the country from neighboring Cote d’Ivoire on July 23, 2022.
Monkeypox is a zoonotic virus disease with symptoms similar to smallpox, although less severe. The last confirmed monkeypoxcase in Liberia was recorded in 1970 from Grand Gedeh County.
Speaking to the local media, Clements said: “The WHO is in full readiness to work with its Liberian counterparts on managing and controlling further spread of the monkeypox virus in Liberia.”
For her part, Jane McCauley, Director-General of the National Public Health Institute, providing an update on Wednesday, said the surveillance team conducting case findings, including tracing contacts of people the patient came in close contact with.
The WHO added that more than 18,000 cases of monkeypoxhave been reported globally in 78 countries, with the majority of the cases in Europe.
According to the WHO, 98 percent of cases outside of Africa, where the virus is endemic, have been reported in men who have sex with men.
WHO declared that monkeypox constitutes a global health emergency of international concern, a status that has only been applied before to polio and COVID-19 and that is meant to spur the international community to mount a coordinated response.Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah disclosed that on the 23rd of July, the National Public Health Reference Laboratory confirmed a positive case of the Monkeypox disease in the country, originating in Maryland County, Southeastern Liberia.
This marks the second time since the Monkeypox disease was confirmed in Liberia – the first was in 2018 when the USCDC confirmed same.
Minister Jallah noted that the MOH has duly informed the WHO about the situation in line with the International Health Regulations (2005) protocol.
According to Minister Jallah, a 42-year-old man who used the border between Liberia and Ivory Coast, reportedly presented himself to the health authority in Maryland County when he noticed that he was feeling sick.
She urged the public to report all cases of individuals presenting with fever, headache, muscle pains, blistering, rash and swollen lymph.
Minister Jallah is also encouraging the public to immediately isolate anyone showing signs and symptoms of the disease and at the same time contact health authorities.
Monkeypox, previously thought to be endemic only in West and Central Africa, is now being reported outside Africa in other regions around the World.
Reasons for this unusual pattern are currently unknown. Since July 22, 2022, the WHO has reported 16,000 confirmed cases globally from 70 countries in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
The disease is transmitted from animal to human through contact and from human to human through respiratory droplets, contact with lesions and other body fluid.
Meanwhile, NPHIL authorities have called on the general public to take the preventive measures seriously in order to save lives.
NPHIL confirmed that it is prepared to tackle the disease, confirming that it has heightened surveillance in Maryland and adjacent Counties as well as at the port of entry so as to complement current efforts from the health authorities.
The entity has also advised members of the public to avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus including animals that are sick or that have been found dead.
The public is also urged to report any skin disease or strange illness that looks like Chickenpox as well as report all cases of individuals presenting with fever, headache, muscle pains, blistering rash and swollen lymph.