Wed | Aug 10, 2022

No reported case of monkeypox in Jamaica

Published:Wednesday | May 25, 2022 | 12:06 AM
This 1997 image provided by the CDC  during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), formerly Zaire, and depicts the dorsal surfaces of the hands of a monkeypox case patient, who was di
This 1997 image provided by the CDC during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), formerly Zaire, and depicts the dorsal surfaces of the hands of a monkeypox case patient, who was displaying the appearance of the characteristic rash during its recuperative stage. As more cases of monkeypox are detected in Europe and North America in 2022, some scientists who have monitored numerous outbreaks in Africa say they are baffled by the unusual disease’s spread in developed countries. (CDC via AP)

The Ministry of Health and Wellness says there are no reported cases of monkeypox in Jamaica at this time.

Chief medical officer, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, says persons must report to the health department if they develop a fever and a rash following recent international travel or close contact with persons who travelled within the last three weeks.

“Healthcare workers are to have a heightened sense of awareness of this illness and report suspected cases to the health department,” Bisasor-McKenzie said in a statement Tuesday.

The health ministry says present COVID-19 measures of practising physical-distancing, mask-wearing and frequent hand sanitisation will reduce the likelihood of transmission of the monkeypox virus.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is similar to smallpox and can be transmitted by contact and droplet exposure.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that the current outbreak is spreading primarily through sexual contact.

Over the last two weeks, monkeypox outbreaks have been reported in Europe, North America and Australia.

Most cases are linked to persons with recent travel to countries where monkeypox is endemic, mainly in the region of West Africa.

In countries where monkeypox is endemic:

• Human-to-human transmission of monkeypox occurs by contact and droplet exposure via exhaled large droplets.

• The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from six to 13 days but can range from five to 21 days.

• Symptoms can be mild or severe and associated with a skin rash that can be very itchy or painful. Severe disease may be fatal.

• The disease is often self-limiting with symptoms usually resolving spontaneously within 14 to 21 days.

• Symptoms include fever, chills, intense headaches, exhaustion, backache, muscle ache, swollen lymph nodes, and rash.

Children are at higher risk and monkeypox during pregnancy may lead to complications, congenital monkeypox or stillbirth.

• The virus is normally found in animals but the disease may be transmitted from animals to humans, usually through bites or scratches or consumption of bush meat.

• Milder cases of monkeypox may go undetected and represent a risk of person-to-person transmission. There is likely to be little immunity to the infection in those travelling.

The health ministry is to host a virtual webinar on Thursday at 12:30 p.m., where experts will explain the virus and answer questions from members of the public.