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Macao doctors warned to be on their guard against monkeypox

‘World’s latest health menace’ spreading rapidly, according to WHO; disease can be permanently disfiguring, risk of death as high as 11 per cent.

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‘World’s latest health menace’ spreading rapidly, according to WHO; disease can be permanently disfiguring, risk of death as high as 11 per cent.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:40 am

Doctors in Macao must report any suspected case of monkeypox – an infectious disease caused by a virus that is rapidly spreading around the world – to the authorities so that the patient can be isolated and treated in a timely manner, the Health Bureau (SSM) has announced. 

The bureau also urged anyone showing symptoms of monkeypox to seek medical attention and to avoid sexual activities and close contact with others. 

Monkeypox symptoms begin with fever, headache, muscle pains, swollen lymph nodes and feelings of tiredness, followed by a rash that forms blisters and crusts.  

The SSM said that in order to prevent monkeypox, people should avoid contact with monkeys, rodents and other animals from Central and West Africa. 

The bureau urged people to pay close attention to the world’s latest health menace and urged both medical staff and the general public to stay vigilant. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva issued an alert on Saturday about a “multi-country monkeypox outbreak in non-endemic countries.” 

The alert stated that since 13 May a number of cases of monkeypox have been reported to the WHO from 12 member states that are not endemic for the monkeypox virus, across three WHO regions. “Epidemiological investigations are ongoing, however, reported cases thus far have no established travel links to endemic areas. 

“Based on currently available information, cases have mainly but not exclusively been identified amongst men who have sex with men seeking care in primary care and sexual health clinics.

“The objective of this disease outbreak news is to raise awareness, inform readiness and response efforts, and provide technical guidance for immediate recommended actions.”

According to the alert, “the situation is evolving and the WHO expects there will be more cases of monkeypox identified as surveillance expands in non-endemic countries. Immediate actions focus on informing those who may be most at risk for monkeypox infection with accurate information, in order to stop further spread. Current available evidence suggests that those who are most at risk are those who have had close physical contact with someone with monkeypox, while they are symptomatic.”

The WHO added that it was also working to provide guidance to protect frontline health care providers and other health workers who may be at risk, such as cleaners. 

As of Saturday, the number of confirmed monkeypox cases stood at 92 in 12 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, Germany and The Netherlands. 

The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions or droplets from a contaminated person, as well as through shared items such as bedding or towels. Monkeypox usually clears up after two to four weeks, according to the WHO. The smallpox vaccine reportedly can prevent infection with 85 per cent effectiveness.

Reports of the risk of death, if untreated, are said to be as high as 11 per cent in the Congo Basin. The disease can be permanently disfiguring, The Macau Post Daily reported.  

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:40 am

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