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Healthcare workers alert on monkeypox


May 24, 2022 12:44:40 PM

Healthcare workers alert on monkeypox The Ministry for Health's head of health protection Aalisha Sahukhan has warned healthcare workers to be alert after countries like Australia reported cases of monkeypox.

Dr Sahukhan said the two cases in Australia are believed to be imported as the patients have travel histories of being to countries that are endemic to the disease.

She said it was important for healthcare workers to be alarmed as countries like the United Kingdom have had reports of local transmission.

“cross-protective immunity from smallpox vaccination will be limited to older persons since populations worldwide under the age of 40 or 50 years no longer benefit from it,” she said.

“There is little immunity to monkeypox among younger people living in non-endemic countries since the virus has not been present there.

“Based on currently available information, cases have mainly but not exclusively been identified amongst men who have sex with men.

“With a number of countries in several World Health Organisation regions reporting cases of monkeypox, it is highly likely that other countries will identify cases.

“Situation is evolving and World Health Organisation expects there will be more cases of monkeypox identified as surveillance expands in non-endemic countries,” she said.

She said any patient with suspected monkeypox should be investigated and if confirmed, isolated until their lesions have crusted, and the scab has fallen off.

“Healthcare workers should be on the alert for signals related to patients presenting with an atypical rash that progresses in sequential stages,” she said.

“That is macules, papules, vesicles, pustules, scabs, at the same stage of development over all affected areas of the body that may be associated with fever, lymph nodes and back pain.

“Increasing awareness among potentially affected communities and healthcare providers is essential for identifying and preventing further secondary cases.

“In non-endemic countries, one case is considered an outbreak because of the public health risks associated with a single case of monkeypox,” she said.

She said clinicians should report suspected cases immediately to national public health authorities regardless of whether they are also exploring other potential diagnoses.

By Nacanieli Tuilevuka

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