BEIRUT – Health Minister Firas Abiad said Saturday “Lebanon is until present safe from monkeypox,” a virus endemic to West Africa that has recently propped up in Europe and North America, during an interview with Sky News Arabiya.
Here’s what we know:
• “Nonetheless, we must remain prudent, especially during the current period when the number of flights is increasing,” Abiad added, referring to the summer season when travel usually picks up. The Health Minister said he gave orders to the ministry’s Directorate of Preventive Health Care to take the necessary measures at the country’s entry points, notably at the Beirut International Airport, and to conduct the necessary examinations with specialized doctors.
• Monkeypox cases have been registered in several countries since early May; including notably the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Portugal, France and Sweden. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache, back pain, inflammation of lymph nodes, shivers and fatigue. Skin eruptions can occur, most prominently affecting the face, and palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The rash evolves sequentially from macules (lesions with a flat base) to papules (slightly raised firm lesions), vesicles (lesions filled with clear fluid), pustules (lesions filled with yellowish fluid), and crusts which dry up and fall off. Transmission occurs through contact with infected people or their bodily fluids. No treatment currently exists for monkeypox, which is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from two to four weeks.