Jordan has minimal monkeypox threat, health official says

But infectious diseases chief Raeda Kutub says vigilance is still needed

Jordan has ordered monkeypox testing supplies. Getty
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

A Jordanian infectious diseases official said on Sunday that monkeypox posed a minimal threat to public health in the kingdom, but that authorities had become more vigilant since the coronavirus.

In the past week, cases of the smallpox-related disease have been reported in several European countries, as well as in North America. In Jordan, a country of 10 million people, there have been no recorded cases amid the current outbreak.

Raeda Kutub, head of Jordan's National Contagious Diseases Centre, told official television that despite the lack of cases, testing capabilities were not yet sufficient to detect it.

Ms Kutub said equipment to help the country's main public laboratory to test for monkeypox — which typically causes fever, chills, rash and lesions — had been ordered.

She said although the monkeypox can kill, it “does not spread quickly.”

“This is a rare disease, but caution is needed,” she said.

The World Health Organisation estimates the disease is fatal for up to one in 10 people, but smallpox vaccines offer protection and some antiviral drugs are being developed.

Ms Kutub pointed out that most of Jordan's population was vaccinated against smallpox, while only 45 per cent had been vaccinated against Covid-19.

“It does not call for panic,” she said. “We learnt from the coronavirus the importance of fast response and we are on alert for any change that could occur.

“If we register any cases, our data will be accurate and conform to international standards.”

Around 1.7 million cases of the coronavirus have been recorded in Jordan and 14,066 people have been officially confirmed to have died of the disease.

Jordanian authorities stopped publishing daily coronavirus data last year and many PCR testing centres have closed in 2022 because of a lack of demand as testing requirements were scrapped.

The latest Ministry of Heath data covering the week from May 7-13 showed that 300 people in Jordan were infected with Covid-19.

Updated: May 22, 2022, 6:16 PM