Another public health threat!


Monkeypox virus surfaces  in Salone

May 2, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

An isolated case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Pujehun district, southern Sierra Leone, the third known occurrence of the virus in the country with the first reported case in 1970 and the second in 2014, according to a joint release from the Ministry of Health and WHO.

The release from the Public Health National Emergency Operations Centre in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation Ministry, stated that the patient, a 35-year-old man was admitted to Pujehun District Hospital on 25th March 2017, where he is currently undergoing supportive treatment.

According to the release,  Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that occurs primarily in the rainforest areas of Central and West Africa, and that  it is transmitted to people mainly from infected animals, including squirrels, rats, mice and primates.

It stated that the symptoms of Monkeypox can usually be treated with supportive care and that case fatality in Monkeypox outbreaks has been between 1% and 10%, with most deaths occurring in younger age groups.

The release continued further that biological samples were shipped to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo for laboratory testing and were confirmed positive for the virus on 17th April, 2017.

“Active surveillance has been instituted in the affected community, with no new cases identified to date. Thirteen close contacts to the index case are being monitored. None have developed any febrile illness and/or skin lesions since the last exposure. The contacts will continue to be monitored for an additional 17 days (which is twice the usual incubation period for the Monkeypox virus),” Harold Thomas,

Communications Pillar Lead stated.

With support from the World Health Organization (WHO), Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other partners, he said the ministry will continue to closely monitor the situation, whilst undertaking intensive social mobilization in the affected community to promote early healthcare seeking behaviour and preventive measures, including avoiding bush meat and practicing good handwashing with soap and water.

He urged the public to abstain from trapping and eating bush meat, especially rodents such as squirrels and rats, which can be vectors for the Monkeypox virus.

Healthcare workers have been informed of the situation and are on alert to provide the necessary care and support to the public or any sick person.