Health authorities in Liberia have announced the confirmation of the first case of monkeypox virus in the country.
Speaking to local media on Tuesday, Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah said that a test result from the reference laboratory of the country's National Public Health Institute proved positive.
Jallah said the positive case of monkeypox originated in the southeastern county of Maryland, and the patient is a 42-year old who entered the country from neighboring Coate d'Ivorie on July 23.
The World Health Organization on Saturday announced that monkeypox constitutes a global health emergency of international concern, a status that has only been applied before to polio and COVID-19 and that is meant to spur the international community to mount a coordinated response.
"There are now more than 16,000 reported cases from 75 countries and territories, and five deaths," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a news conference on Saturday.
It said that Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection, and it is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox.
The Liberian health minister said: "We have duly informed the World Health Organization about the situation in line with the international health regulation protocol of 2005".
The public have been urged to take preventive measures in order to save lives, and by reporting any kind of skin disease or strange illnesses of individuals involving fever, headache, muscle pains, blistering rash and swollen lymph.
Moreover, the country's national public health institute has disclosed its preparedness to tackle the disease, confirming that it has heightened surveillance in Maryland and counties of southeastern Liberia including ports of entries.
However, Liberians have been advised to avoid contact with animals that are sick or that have been found dead.
Monkeypox, once thought to be an epidemic in West and Central Africa, is now being reported in countries outside of Africa including the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom among others.