GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – The government of Guyana has placed an order with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) for monkeypox vaccines, to ensure the country receives doses by the end of next month, Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony has disclosed.
He said the government is making significant efforts, although the supply of the vaccine is limited worldwide.
“It’s a very scarce commodity right now in the world but, nevertheless, we are trying to get some doses into Guyana for persons who might be exposed,” the minister said during Wednesday’s COVID-19 update.
Minister Anthony stressed the need for citizens to take the necessary precautions to avoid contracting the virus. There are currently about 45,000 cases globally in some 96 countries.
On Monday, Guyana reported its first case of the virus and the Health Minister said authorities are not expecting any outbreak in the country.
That first patient is a 57-year-old man who is now in isolation at the Infectious Diseases Hospital. Several people who were recently in contact with him have since been placed in quarantine for monitoring.
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with a virus that is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox.
Symptoms of the viral infection are similar to smallpox symptoms but milder.
Monkeypox is rarely fatal. It is not related to chickenpox.
There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox infections. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox infections.
Studies have shown that for most people who are infected, the effects start to wear off within 14-21 days. However, people can still develop complications because of secondary bacterial infections.