Bolivian health authorities Wednesday announced that an 11-year-old girl in the department of Cochabamba was among the 49 confirmed cases in the country of monkeypox, a malady that usually affects male adults.
The patient was reported to be stable but her chain of contacts is under investigation, Cochabamba's Departmental Health Service head of Epidemiology Rubén Castillo told reporters.
The case of a 28-year-old man is also being monitored after he is believed to have been in close contact with at least four other people.
Bolivia's Health Ministry also confirmed the first monkeypox patient to have recovered from the disease has been discharged from hospital.
The first infection was detected in the country three weeks ago. Only cases of males aged between 20 and 39 had been reported previously. The confirmed cases are in the departments of Santa Cruz (42), Cochabamba (5), La Paz (1), and Potosi (1).
Bolivian authorities have recommended the population take the same biosecurity measures used for the prevention of COVID-19, including wearing masks, frequent hand washing, and personal distancing. They also said any skin rash should be treated as a suspected case.
The World Health Organization (WHO) identified the disease in 89 countries from the beginning of the outbreak in May until early August. The international agency also launched a bulletin Wednesday warning people worldwide that the risk of monkeypox is not limited to sexually active people; anyone who has close contact with someone who has symptoms is at risk.
Some cases of monkeypox have been identified at sexual health clinics. Monkeypox rashes can resemble some sexually transmitted diseases, including herpes and syphilis, which may partly explain why these cases are being picked up at sexual health clinics, it added.
Know your risk and take steps to protect yourself and others. Anyone who has symptoms that could be monkeypox should seek advice from a health care provider immediately to get tested and access care, the WHO also explained.