Director of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, has revealed that it is difficult to establish the source of the monkeypox cases identified in the country.
According to him, the inability of his outfit to ascertain the exact cause of the infection is due to the varied modes of transmission. He indicated that the eighteen confirmed cases by the Ghana Health Service were achieved via the help of three labs in the country, including Noguchi.
Dr Asiedu-Bekoe explained that the cases identified are from the Greater Accra region with a few others recorded in the Eastern, Bono and Volta region. He stated that the Service is also on the lookout to confirm other cases which may potentially be out there.
“I think that what is difficult to establish is the source of this infection. We are not able to go down to know whether it’s our animals or some direct human contact. There are few instances that can be traced to siblings but most cases, we are struggling to find the source. What is happening is that the cases are not many, so, they are separate cases which are scattered in some regions, though most of them are in Greater Accra.”Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe
Commenting on the hotspot region, Dr Asiedu-Bekoe highlighted that Greater Accra has about 75% of cases. He noted that there are also incidents whereby some Ghanaians outside the country have contracted monkeypox.
“Like in the first case, what we confirmed in the US and then we traced the contact to Ghana and we have gotten one in Nigeria and one in Italy.”Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe
Containing spread of monkeypox
The Director of Public Health at GHS emphasized that the healthcare system in the country is able to contain the spread of the monkeypox. He revealed that, unlike COVID that can be asymptomatic and yet one can spread it, the monkeypox is by contact. As such, it is much easier to identify.
“You see, monkeypox, ability to transmit is very much less compared to COVID-19 because it spreads when you have the symptoms… So, if you look at the way it spreads, it’s less efficient compared to COVID-19 and I think our system will be able to handle it. We have the contact tracing team that can follow the contact and then be able to identify the cases early. So, I think that monkeypox shouldn’t be a problem for our sector.”Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe
Elaborating on the surge of cases of COVID-19 which stands at 133 cases recorded daily in the month of June, Dr Asiedu-Bekoe stated that now that the cases are going up, the “use of masks is so critical”. This, he noted, is because one’s risk of getting infected is also dependent on where he is located.
“So, if you are in an open space or enclosed space, the risk is different and we are telling Ghanaians that for now, this surge in cases, we need to wear the masks, particularly if you are in an enclosed placed. Then we are also looking at the need to have vaccination because when you have the right number of vaccines in the country, it builds the right number of public immunity that minimizes the risks.”Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe