The Ministry of Health is putting in place necessary strategies to protect Fiji from any possible Monkeypox cases.
Monkeypox is spread from animals to humans and can be fatal to children and people whose immune systems are weak.
The World Health Organization says reported cases of fatality are between three to six percent of infections.
Monkeypox until recently, was only found in Western and Central Africa, and Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan says Fiji must be prepared by all means.
“This is an example of another disease that is spreading worldwide and in Fiji, we would have to be prepared for, because we are all interconnected now. We have international travel that is ongoing just as pre-pandemic – that was normal for our borders to be open and for flights to be going. It’s very normal for us to be getting people coming from Europe and US. We need to understand what this disease is so that we are better prepared to respond if we were to get a case in Fiji.”
Dr Sahukhan says the disease is a self-limiting illness with an incubation period ranging from five to 21 days.
“When we say self-limited disease it essentially means that most cases recover without any need for medical intervention. Treatment may be supportive. People are having pains, headaches, and backache but in two to four weeks time, they will recover fully. We know that severe disease can happen though it is not common and severe disease is more likely to affect people who are immune suppressed and also in small children.”
Most symptoms of monkeypox are similar to COVID-19, and certain measures used to curb the coronavirus can be considered again.
The virus spreads via contact with clothing or linen used by an infected person, direct contact with monkeypox skin lesions, and exposure to respiratory droplets like coughs amongst others.