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Liberia records first Monkeypox case

By Kruah Thompson 

The Ministry of Health thru the National Public Health Institute (NPHIL) has declared an outbreak of Monkeypox in Liberia.

In a statement here Monday, July 25, 2022, Minister of Health Dr. Wilehmina Jallah revealed that the national reference laboratory on July 23, 2022, confirmed the first case of monkeypox.

Minister Jallah said the index case is a 43-year-old Liberian male from Pleebo, Maryland County.

She detailed the victim was sick in Ivory Coast since July 10, 2022, but returned to Pleebo, Maryland County on 18 July.

She said while in the county, the victim’s condition worsened, so he sought medication at the Pleebo hospital.

“Due to the symptoms on the body, he was suspected of Monkeypox on July 19, 2022, and the sample was collected for testing”, Dr. Jallah added.

However, on July 23, 2022, NPHIL laboratory confirmed the case positive.

Dr. Jallah said when the national reference lab confirmed the first case of the disease, the ministry duly notified the World Health Organization (WHO) in line with international regulation 2005 protocol.

“This is the second time that monkeypox has been confirmed in Liberia. the first case was in 2015 by the US CDC”, the health minister noted.

She observed that the reason for the unusual pattern is still unknown globally.

A representative of the WHO Dr. Clammy said since the beginning of this year, the world has seen cases of Monkeypox, and countries that did not experience these cases are now recording cases, noting that it has become a mega country transmission.

“Since then, the outbreak has continued to grow, and there are now more than 16 thousand reported cases from 75 countries and territories and five deaths”, he revealed.

The WHO Rep. continued that international health regulatory experts met last week for the first time, and thought that monkeypox will not constitute an emergency of international concern, but their description has changed.

He stressed a need for thorough public awareness.

“Yes, the country has seen monkeypox, but I think it needs to raise a profile to partake in more detail awareness.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Julius S.M. Gilayeneh, Deputy Director General for Technical Services/Chief Scientist at NPHIL said Liberia over the period has been prepared for outbreaks such as Monkeypox.

Dr. Gilayeneh said as part of the preparedness effort, they have reached out to all 15 counties to provide increased surveillance activities for Monkeypox awareness in communities.

“This is to ensure community dwellers are informed to detect and report on monkeypox cases”, he added.

He said the 1st Monkeypox cases recorded in Nigeria were detected by their surveillance system so Liberia is on top of her game, by ensuring the ministry works with partners in the health system to detect cases and report them on time. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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