Dr Jane Ruth Aceng’s Ministry of Health (MoH) has spoken out on the monkey pox, saying it has intensified surveillance as the disease continues to spread across the world.
A viral disease transmitted from animals to humans, Monkey Pox is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as beddings.
Caused by the Monkey Pox Virus, the disease can also be spread through eating inadequately cooked meat and other animal products of infected animals. The disease is also spread through physical or direct contact including ‘forbidden fruit chewing’ with an infected person.
The incubation period of Monkey Pox is said to be between six and13 days, and its mortality rate somewhere between three and six per cent. Patients, the most vulnerable ones being children and individuals with low immunity levels, present with symptoms such as fever, rash, intense headache, swelling of the lymph nodes, back pain, muscle aches and body weakness.
According to Dr Henry G Mwebesa, the Director General Health Services, the MoH is yet to confirm any case of Monkey Pox disease in Uganda.
“The Ministry of Health would like to inform the general public that no case of Monkey Pox has been registered in Uganda. However, there is an outbreak of this disease in 23 non-endemic countries worldwide and at least eight endemic countries within the African tropical belt,” said Mwebesa on June 06.
MWEBESA’S GUIDELINES ON MANAGING MONKEY POX
- If someone is suspected or confirmed as having Monkey Pox, they should isolate at home or in an appropriate facility until the scabs have fallen off, and abstain from ‘bedminton,’ in its oral forms.
- During this period, patients must be offered supportive medical care to ease symptoms such as pain or itchiness.
- Patients should be monitored for early detection of any medical complications of the illness.
- If one develops a rash, fever or a feeling of discomfort, please contact your health worker and get tested for Monkey Pox.
- Always use appropriate Personal Protective Measures when taking care of a patient who has tested positive for Monkey Pox.
- The general public is advised to remain vigilant and report any suspected patient to the nearest health worker immediately. Alternatively, you can call the Ministry of Health toll-free line on 0800-100-066 or send a free-text SMS to 6767 (Free of Charge) beginning with the “ALERT” keyword, describing the place and symptoms of the affected.
WHAT MINISTRY OF HEALTH IS DOING
- The Ministry of Health working with partners is closely monitoring the evolving situation of the outbreak of Monkey Pox in different parts of the world and the following interventions are being undertaken.
- Strengthening testing capabilities at Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) to test and accurately diagnose Monkey Pox.
- Intensified surveillance by all health workers to look out for patients with suspected signs and symptoms of Monkey Pox and reported to the Ministry of Health through the formal reporting channels.
- Intensified partner and stakeholder engagement with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) including the Wildlife Authority to strengthen surveillance both in the animal and human health sectors.