Mon | Sep 26, 2022

St James records island’s fourth monkeypox case

Published:Thursday | August 11, 2022 | 12:11 AM


Jamaica on Wednesday confirmed a fourth case of monkeypox in the island, the second instance of local transmission on record.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Wellness disclosed that the male patient, who is from St James, was in isolation and that contact tracing was under way.

“ ... The patient has had no recent travel history and was not in contact with the three previously announced cases,” the release stated.

The previous locally transmitted case was found in St Elizabeth and the two imported cases detected in Clarendon.

Last month, Dr Francine Phillips-Kelly, medical officer of health for St James, said that surveillance efforts were ongoing at all local ports of entry, including at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, to detect cases of the virus among incoming passengers.

“We did have a suspected case, but the test was revealed to be negative for the monkeypox virus,” Phillips-Kelly told the St James Municipal Corporation’s monthly meeting in July.

Up to yesterday, some 13 people in total had been tested for the monkeypox virus locally, nine of whom returned negative results.

The ministry said that in the 24 hours up to yesterday, there were some 11 persons in quarantine as a precautionary measure and one person hospitalised.

Dr Delroy Fray, clinical coordinator for the Western Regional Health Authority, said that hospitalisations for monkeypox should not be necessary unless the local public health officials determine otherwise.

“It is the public health service that deals with monkeypox, unless they cannot secure them (patients) at home, in which case they might ask us to keep them,” said Fray. “But we are trying not to do that, because monkeypox is not a hospital disease; it is a public health disease.”

The monkeypox virus was discovered in 1958 and belongs to the same family of viruses as the variola virus which causes smallpox. Symptoms of monkeypox, which can run from two to four weeks, include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, and a rash that looks like pimples or blisters on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body.

Since May, nearly 90 countries have reported more than 29,000 cases of monkeypox. The World Health Organization classified the outbreak of the once-rare disease as an international emergency in July.