By George K. Momo, LINA Maryland County Correspondent
HARPER, Sept. 17 (LINA) – Suspected cases of the monkey pox disease are reported at the Barrobo Farjah Health District in Maryland County.
Making the disclosure to the Liberia News Agency over the weakened in Harper, the County Disease Surveillance Officer, Mr. Dedesco Gweh, said the suspected cases of monkey pox first surfaced in December 2017.
According to him, since the discovery of the disease, three cases have been reported in Maryland County with all cases coming from the same health district.
He described monkey pox as an infectious disease caused by the monkey pox virus.
He named fever, headache, muscle aches, back ache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, skin lesions on face, legs and genitals as signs and symptoms of the disease.
According to him, these symptoms are often followed by a rash that forms blisters and crusts on the skin.
He said the time from exposure to the disease to the onset of symptoms is around 10 days and that the duration is typically two to five weeks.
Reflecting on the history of the disease, Gweh said on December 5, 2017, there was one case from Tenken Town in Farjah Health District that has an estimated population of 500 inhabitants.
Gweh said upon receiving the information, the county surveillance office dispatched a team on December 6 to calm the panicking population.
He said the team launched a wide-range health education exercise as well as laboratory testing of specimens collected from the people.
The Maryland CSO said upon the discovery of the suspected case of monkey pox, all 25 persons, who had close contact with the patient, were quarantined.
He said the quarantined people, including family members and health workers were observed for a period of 30 days, but none of them showed a single symptom of the disease.
He also said the disease is contracted through eating or coming into contact with wild animals infected with the disease.
Gweh further said that Barrabo is located in the remotest forest parts of Maryland, where most wildlife live and most citizens earn their living from hunting, while other eat these animals.
He said the second suspected case was discovered on March 5, 2018 in Rock Town of Barrobo, involving a three-year-old boy.
Gweh said the affected boy was catered for by health officials in the county, while specimens were again sent for proper testing but proved negative.
The CSO said the recent suspected case of monkey pox was discovered on September 9, involving a two-year-old girl in the same health district in the county.
According to him, the specimen has been sent to Atlanta, Georgia, USA for laboratory test to determine if the child has or does not have the disease.
He told LINA eight members of the girl’s family that came into contact with her are under careful observation by health authorities in the county.
In an effort to handle the situation, the CSO said that his county health team is involved with health education in the district and communities to ensure that proper measures are taken to safeguard the people.
He, however, said that the lack of logistics and supplies, including gasoline and lubricants for the motorcycles for his team, is a major challenge.
Meanwhile, he has appealed to the government and partners to help take care of these operational challenges confronting his team.