Panama confirms 1st monkeypox case, issues appeal for calm
Panama City, Jul 5 (EFE).- Panamanian health authorities on Tuesday confirmed the country’s first monkeypox case, saying a 30-year-old man was infected and is in stable condition and being kept in isolation.
“In the afternoon hours (of Monday), we received confirmation that this patient was infected with the monkeypox virus. It’s the country’s first case,” Panamanian Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre said at a press conference.
The man is being kept isolated from other patients at a hospital in Panama City and is receiving treatment to bring down his fever, the only symptom reported thus far.
“There is no reason to be alarmed,” Sucre told Efe, adding that monkeypox “has been shown all over the world to not be highly contagious nor highly fatal, (which) puts all of us at ease.”
“So this isn’t the same. It’s not going to become a situation like what Covid became, due to the characteristics of the disease, which is self-limiting. It goes away on its own,” Sucre said. “The main means of infection has already been shown to be via intimate contact (although) other means haven’t been ruled out.”
Even so, “the epidemiological surveillance system … and genomic surveillance … are being carried out,” said the minister, who urged the population to heed the country’s hygiene and biosafety protocols.
This first case was confirmed by the Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies – a state-run institution devoted to medical research – when the patient was tested for the virus after experiencing suspicious symptoms for several days.
More than 3,000 cases of monkeypox (whose symptoms can include a rash that forms blisters) have been reported since early May in 47 countries, many of which had never before registered a case of that infectious viral disease.
The illness has particularly been observed in men who have sex with other men, according to the World Health Organization.
The WHO said the vast majority of patients had not received the smallpox vaccine, which has been highly effective in protecting people from becoming infected or severely ill with monkeypox, an illness that has been endemic in Africa for decades.
That international public health agency said after a meeting last month of its Emergency Committee that the current outbreak of monkeypox should not be categorized as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. EFE