‘No concern’ over monkeypox spread

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AMMAN — The first case of monkeypox was recorded in Jordan this week, raising public concern over the spread of the viral disease across the Kingdom.اضافة اعلان

The case involved a 30-year-old Jordanian, who had been traveling outside the country for an extended period. The disease was detected upon his return home this week.

Adel Al-Belbeisi, adviser to the prime minister for health affairs and also in charge of the COVID-19 dossier in Jordan, said that Jordanians should not be alarmed about a spread of the disease.

“There is no alarming concern regarding the spread of monkeypox in the near future in Jordan,” he told Jordan News. He explained that “monkeypox it is not a respiratory disease that would spread via aerosol droplets or airborne transmission, and therefore, it does not spread easily.”

He explained that the monkeypox virus spreads through “close skin to skin contact with an infected individual, and is most contagious when skin blisters are visible.”

“We can say that the spread between people, in this case, is harder than the transfer through respiratory, and thus, it cannot be spread easily,” Belbeisi said.

He explained that “symptoms of the disease go through two stages.”

“In the first stage, which is between three to five days, symptoms include a rise in temperature, sore throat, muscle pain and a swelling of lymph nodes glands,” he said. “In the second stage, a skin lesion rash would develop.”

“We usually take a sample of the lesion and run a PCR test to determine if it is monkeypox virus or not”, he pointed out.

He asserted that, in case of infection, “there are no specific medications to be prescribed, but, it would require antiviral medications. Mostly though medications used to alleviate the symptoms.”

“In most cases, the patient requires self-healing and the period of recovery takes approximately four weeks from the time of infection”, he explained.

Belbeisi noted that “those who have been previously vaccinated against smallpox are protected from monkeypox.”

“Infants who are yet to be vaccinated, or those who have not been vaccinated are not immune from getting infected with the virus. Those who are in the process of being vaccinated should be aware”, he said.

According to Belbeisi, precautionary measures used to prevent infection would include “following usual health procedure protocols to protect oneself from the disease, as well as maintaining personal hygiene and cleanliness, keeping physical distance, and most importantly, getting tested.”
monkeypox it is not a respiratory disease that would spread via aerosol droplets or airborne transmission, and therefore, it does not spread easily.
He said “we are currently working on educating people and raising awareness about this disease, what it is and how it is transmitted.”

In a related development, a member of the National Committee for Epidemiology Najwa Khoury said monkeypox is spreading faster than before due to facilitated travel  measures and an increase in Safari tourism, according to Ammon News.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a new variant occurred on the virus, which could lead to it becoming more dangerous and quickly to spread, Khoury said, adding the new characteristics of the new variant are still under examination.

She explained that the transmission of monkeypox happens through close contact, “that is, skin-to-skin contact” or direct contact with the animal, noting that a “PCR” test will reveal whether someone has the infection.

“Those who received a smallpox vaccine, which was widespread in the world previously, ... will have immunity from monkeypox infection by 70–80 percent, because both viruses have shared characteristics,” according to Khoury, who highlighted that smallpox became extinct in 1970 through a vaccination campaign.

She pointed out that treatment for monkeypox is available and given to people at high risk, and treatment is available at the WHO, while it is supplied to countries as necessary.

Khoury said that the death rate from monkeypox reaches 3 to 6 percent, stressing that the health system in Jordan is one of the best in the world, and is able to deal with the disease.

She added that all medical staff must have information on how to deal with monkeypox cases or suspected cases and how to obtain the necessary samples, so that the disease can be quickly identified and controlled.

The Ministry of Health stressed that all its cadres should be aware of monkeypox  and the diagnosis methods, especially those working in health centers, calling for raising awareness about it, through the ministry’s website and social media platforms.

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