Jordan is prepared to deal with monkeypox, says health official

Absence of vaccines makes prevention challenging, despite assurances to the contrary

(Photo: Envato Element)
AMMAN — Jordan is prepared to deal with a potential outbreak of monkeypox, and has tightened its border control to prevent the virus from entering the Kingdom, said Adviser to the Prime Minister for Health Affairs Adel Al-Balbisi.اضافة اعلان

Balbisi, who is also responsible for the COVID-19 file, told Jordan News that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern and urged nations to prepare for it and investigate cases as they occur across the globe.

The WHO emergency committee declares a health emergency if four questions receive positive answers. They are: does the disease threaten public health; is the event unusual; is there a possibility that the disease will spread globally; and, will it affect international travel and trade.

This is the case with monkeypox, and countries are scrambling to deal with the new health threat.

“Since the first case of the disease was detected globally, we have activated border monitoring and investigation procedures to prevent its spread,” Balbisi said.

Yet, according to him, the Imvanex vaccine, which was recently recommended by the European Medicines Agency for the prevention of monkeypox, is not available in Jordan. Moreover, its production has been limited, following the eradication of the smallpox.

According to Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Jordan Faris Bakri, symptoms of monkeypox are similar to those of smallpox, but milder.

“Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue, which causes the lymph nodes to swell,” he said, adding that a rash, which appears one to five days after the initial symptoms, often starts on the face.

“It appears as raised spots, which turn into small, fluid-filled blisters. Symptoms usually disappear within two to four weeks,” he added.

Bakri said vaccines are expected to be supplied to Jordan “in the future”.

Monkeypox is spread by touching the clothes or the towels used by an infected person, or touching the blisters or skin crusts. It is also transmitted by droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze, but only through prolonged close contact, Bakri said.

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