NEWS

Monkeypox ‘Not High Risk Issue’: WHO Rep

Monkeypox is not a high risk issue for Fiji and other countries in the pacific, says World Health Organisation representative and director Pacific Technical Support Dr Mark Jacobs.
27 Jun 2022 17:14
Monkeypox ‘Not High Risk Issue’: WHO Rep

Monkeypox is not a high risk issue for Fiji and other countries in the pacific, says World Health Organisation representative and director Pacific Technical Support Dr Mark Jacobs.

Dr Jacobs made the assurance after the Ministry of Health and Medical Services announced three suspected cases of monkeypox in the country.

Two of the suspected cases had tested negative while the ministry awaits an update on the result of the third suspected case.

 

The announcement of suspected cases in the country had raised a lot of worries and fear among the general public.

Dr Jacobs said there was a reason why monkeypox was not a high risk issue.

“We have known about monkeypox for decades and there are some countries in the world where it is endemic,” he said.

“Compared to COVID-19, it is a disease that we know about, it is not something new.”

“What is new is that it is spreading beyond the countries it was endemic to and we need to understand a little better why.”

 

“But the virus itself has not changed, we know how it is caused and that it is not easy for it to spread as things like COVID, influenza and measles.”

“You need to have a very close contact to get monkeypox.”

He assured that it was not high risk and it was not something people must worry about.

On the other hand countries around the world must be aware of and make sure they have a good disease surveillance system.

 

This is in case someone comes up with symptoms that may be monkeypox and that is picked up, reported and investigated.

“There are chances that something that may look like monkeypox isn’t monkeypox because there are a number of other infections that could look similar,” Dr Jacobs said

Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr James Fong said the ministry maintained that while monkeypox speeded worldwide, the evidence remained that monkeypox does not spread easily between people unless there is close contact.

 

“It is also amenable to localised public health measures with minimal to low social and economic impact,” he said.

“At present WHO does not recommend that the Member States adopt any measures that interfere with international traffic for either incoming or outgoing travellers.”

 

Vaccines for Monkeypox

Dr Jacobs said vaccines on monkeypox were not recommended for countries to get ahold of.

The WHO knows the risk is high enough for that and it doesn’t think there is not enough vaccine available.

He added the most important vaccination priority for Fiji is to get their booster doses for COVID and advising parents on the other vaccinations that would protect the lives of their children.

 

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj



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