Guyana Establishes Special Unit at Infectious Disease Hospital to Tackle Monkeypox

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Guyana has established a special unit to accommodate anyone who might be subdued to the global Monkeypox virus locally.

gdhghGuyana’s Infectious Disease Hospital (Image courtesy of Guyana DPI)The authorities said that the unit would be established at the Guyana’s Infectious Disease Hospital and that the medical post will be outfitted with the necessary reagents and equipment.

Guyana's government has already trained a number of regional health officials at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory, to be better able to detect the infectious disease.

“If they do have a case, they would have the right techniques of how to take the sample, how to store the sample, and transport the sample to the laboratory so that we can do the confirmatory testing at the National Public Health Reference Lab,” said Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, during the COVID-19 Update, adding that Guyana must be prepared to guard against the health emergency.

“This is something that we have to pay a lot of attention to, and try to make sure it is contained,” Dr. Anthony said, adding that the authorities have also established a steering committee as part of efforts to prepare for the Monkeypox virus reaching here.

The Ministry of Health is also looking to do a continuing medical education course for medical practitioners that will help participants with accessing updates on the latest statistics, information, and clinical presentation of the disease.

Dr. Anthony said the course will help the doctors to know the correct procedure to make reports to the ministry, and how to properly detect any such case.

“That how you deal with those types of emergencies you have to prepare. So, we have all the medical people trained, know what to look for and once we detect a case they’ll follow the protocol.

Additionally, Guyana is working with the international community using a coordinated approach to tackle the infectious Monkey pox disease in light of the World Health Organization's (WHO) recent announcement that it is now considered a global ‘public health emergency’.

Monkeypox virus has been detected in three Caribbean countries, namely Jamaica, Barbados and The Bahamas. The virus is transmitted from animals to humans. Globally, there are some 19,306 cases recorded. Symptoms included a characteristic rash, fever, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, muscle aches, headache and sore throat.

Meanwhile, Guyana is reporting that an estimated 67.2 percent of the adult population has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus (COVID-19) virus.

Figures released by the authorities here show that 344, 596 adults received the full jab, while 444, 950 adults or 86.7 percent of the adult population have received their first dose.

Dr. Anthony said 35, 373 or 48.5 percent of Guyanese between the ages 12 to 17 took their first jab, while 25, 876 or 35.5 percent of the age cohort is fully vaccinated.

Moreover, a total of 6,325 or 6.2 percent of children ages five to 11, got the first dose of the covid 19 vaccine and 1,529 doses of the second jab were distributed to the same age cohort.

Although the five-to 11-year-old vaccine drive was recently rolled out by government, the Health Minister reiterated the need for improved partnership with parents.

“Even while we are rolling this out, remember we waited a long time to be able to access these types of vaccines [for children] between five and 11, so now that we have the vaccines, it’s important that we get parents to bring their children to be vaccinated. You don’t want your child to go back to school and be vulnerable to an infection,” Dr. Anthony urged.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony said that with different strains of the Omicron virus in circulation the authorities have discovered that a number of people who might have been infected before are being re-infected.

“In January, we would have seen more BA1 and BA2 kind of presentation, and now what we are seeing is a BA5 presentation. What has happened is that even if you were infected with BA1 or BA2 previous, you can get re-infected with BA5. We are seeing people who probably would have had COVID before, whether with omicron, or with some other variant that they are getting re-infected.

“Booster doses are available. Unfortunately, a lot of people who remain vulnerable to COVID who can end up with a severe form of COVID, because of the risk factor that they have… many of them have not come back for their booster doses,” Dr. Anthony said.