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Jul 19, 2022

Monkeypox Virus Detected in Neighboring Quintana Roo, Mexico

The neighboring state of Quintana Roo, Mexico reported its first case of the monkeypox virus on Monday. The patient has been identified as an elderly person who is currently in isolation, listed as stable, and has no links to any Belizean or travel history to Belize. The monkeypox disease was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Republic of Congo in Central Africa. The virus has since been declared endemic to ten African countries. But, for the first time in history, over the last few months cases of monkeypox are being detected in other parts of the world, including Central America and the Caribbean. With cases already identified in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and more recently in Mexico, health experts speculate that it may only be a matter of time before Belize records its first case. So what is monkeypox, and how severe are the symptoms? According to Doctor Melissa Diaz-Musa, the Director of Public Health Services, the virus can spread from animals to humans and from humans to humans. Of the two strains of monkeypox known to experts, the lesser of the two strains, known as the West African, is the variant spreading across this region. The virus’ incubation period is seven to fourteen days, says Doctor Musa. She broke down the details of the symptoms for reporters via Zoom.


Dr. Melissa Musa Diaz

Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa, Director of Public Health Services

“The Monkeypox symptoms, we know that prior to many viruses we have a period called a prodrome where persons describe fever, fatigue, muscle aches, back pain. And then usually after this, other symptoms will start. What is significant as well, one symptom we look for in Monkeypox is we call it lymphadenopathy. It is the swelling of the lymph nodes. These swollen lymph nodes can be found anywhere in the body, but more commonly in the neck, so in the jaw bone area, arm pits and in the groin. So, with persons presented with fever, body aches, we also need to check in these areas to make sure we can feel the swelling. After one to three days of fever then we will notice the rash starts to appear. Now, the rash usually appears first on the face, but it can be on the hands on the soles of the feet and occasionally on the genitals as well. It usually takes three to four weeks. In most cases, it would go away on its own. It is self limiting and supportive treatments, for example Tylenol for fever, rehydration, if you are dehydrated, just supportive treatment. The rash usually will last for three to four weeks. A person remains contagious after the entire time until the rash has scabbed away completely, because that is a main way of transmission with the Monkeypox. So it is transmitted by close contact with someone showing symptoms. This includes touching, contact with a respiratory secretion, so coughing, sneezing, speaking singing, all these things again, face to face contact, close contact with the body legion, because the body legion many times contain fluid that can cause another person to get the virus from these fluids. Of course if you have suspected case, you would have to swab that person, get the testing done, notify the lab and then the lab would run that test as quickly as possible. We have been able to train someone over the last few weeks in the PCR testing for Monkeypox and we have been able to procure the reagents as well. The lab has done a test run and everything is successful. We have already been able to inform the other lab techs country wide of what needs to be done.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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