The Bono East Regional Minister, Mr. Kwasi Adu-Gyan, has confirmed that the region has recorded the first case of Monkey Pox disease, but has assured that the Regional Coordinating Council and health authorities are working assiduously to prevent its spread.
Mr. Adu-Gyan said this at his office in Techiman, during the inauguration ceremony of a 9-member Bono East Regional Health Committee, charged with the responsibility to effectively improve health delivery in the region.
Speaking in an interview after the inauguration, Dr. Fred Adomako Boateng the Bono East Regional Director of Health said the first monkeypox patient is a worker in Techiman. He was amongst some 8 other people whose samples were taken for laboratory tests and later confirmed positive. He is currently in isolation and is responding to treatment.
On his part, Dr. Sefah Sarpong Bediakoh, chairman of the Ghana Health Service Governing Council who inaugurated the Bono East Regional Health Committee charged the members to advise the Regional Health Directorate in fulfillment of the Ghana Health Service and Teaching Hospitals Act, 1996 (Act 525).
Dr. Baffoe Gyan, a heart surgeon at the University Of Ghana Medical Centre, in Accra, and chairman of the Bono East Regional Health Committee, on behalf of his members pledged to work tirelessly to improve the health situation in the region.
The Ghana Health Service (GHS) confirmed five cases of the Monkey pox disease earlier this month. No death has so far been recorded among the cases, according to the Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma Aboagye.
According to Dr Kumah, the cases were recorded in three regions; Eastern, Western and Greater Accra. He indicated that 12-suspected cases had been investigated since May 24, 2022.
The GHS director revealed that one of the cases was recorded from a Ghanaian who travelled to the United States of America.
According to Dr Kuma Aboagye, there is currently no treatment for Monkey pox. However, he said there is a vaccine available, but not in Ghana.
Morocco and Nigeria have also confirmed cases of Monkey pox, with Nigeria banning the consumption and sale of bush meat, as a means to avert the spread of the disease.
Monkey pox is caused by monkey pox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. It is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3-6%.
Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus.
The Monkey pox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
Monkey pox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of central and West Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions. An antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkey pox.
The clinical presentation of monkey pox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980. Monkey pox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness.
Monkey pox typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications.
Human monkey pox was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a 9-month-old boy in a region where smallpox had been eliminated in 1968. Since then, most cases have been reported from rural, rainforest regions of the Congo Basin, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and human cases have increasingly been reported from across central and West Africa.
Since 1970, human cases of monkeypox have been reported in 11 African countries: Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone and South Sudan. The true burden of monkey pox is not known. For example, in 1996–97, an outbreak was reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with a lower case fatality ratio and a higher attack rate than usual.