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24 May 2022, 09:01

Healthcare Ministry: Importation of monkeypox to Belarus is unlikely

An archive photo
An archive photo

MINSK, 24 May (BelTA) – The importation of monkeypox to Belarus is unlikely as the country has no air communication with most of the countries, BelTA informs citing the press service of the Healthcare Ministry.

At the same time, in order to prevent the importation of this infection into the country, the Healthcare Ministry has strengthened preparedness and control measures at checkpoints on the state border. Additionally, healthcare workers are being trained to identify this disease. Specialists of the National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology are developing test kits for the timely diagnosis of the infection.

To avoid getting sick, the Healthcare Ministry recommends people who visit monkeypox endemic countries (the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gabon and South Sudan) to avoid contact with rodents and primates and refrain from eating inadequately cooked meat and other animal products.

When in contact with people who have arrived from countries with confirmed cases of the disease and have symptoms similar to an acute respiratory infection, it is necessary to follow basic preventive rules - keeping hands clean and maintaining respiratory etiquette.

The Healthcare Ministry explained that monkeypox is a rare infectious disease accompanied by fever, general intoxication and rash. Monkeys are the source of infection. Monkeypox is not highly contagious. Nevertheless, there are cases when monkeypox virus was transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials.

The incubation period lasts from 5 to 21 days. The disease has a sudden onset. The symptoms include fever, headache and muscle pain; dizziness, nausea, and vomiting are also possible. The symptoms are very similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients although it is clinically less severe.

There is no specific vaccine for this infection. However, vaccination against smallpox had been shown to be protective against monkeypox due to cross-protective immunity.

Isolated cases of monkeypox were reported in Australia, Africa, Canada, the UK, Portugal, Spain and the USA.

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