By Caribbean News Global contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia – The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs (MOH) Monday says it is monitoring the current situation of Monkeypox that has been identified in several countries around the world.
“ To date, no case of monkeypox has been diagnosed in Saint Lucia,” explained MOH, in a press release, May 23.
“Monkeypox is a rare viral disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It is found mostly in areas of Africa. Monkeypox virus is transmitted when a person comes into contact with the virus from an infected human, animal, or material contaminated with the virus. Human-to-human transmission occurs primarily through large respiratory droplets. Other human-to-human methods of transmission include direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens.
Related: CDC and health partners responding to monkeypox case in the US
“Approximately 7 – 14 days after exposure to the monkeypox virus, people may develop flu-like symptoms which include fever, headache, muscle ache, back pain, exhaustion and swelling of lymph nodes. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, which often begins on the face then spreads to other parts of the body. The illness typically lasts for 2 to 4 weeks and can cause death in 1 to 10 percent of people contracting the disease.
“Vaccination against smallpox offers some level of cross-protection against monkeypox. The ministry of health, wellness and elderly affairs is encouraging everyone to be vigilant and to seek medical care if they develop fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes or a rash, among others.”
On Monday, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) detected 36 additional cases of monkeypox in England. The latest cases bring the total number of monkeypox cases confirmed in England since May 7, to 56.
Epidemiology of the disease
According to the MOH: “Let us continue to practice the public health measures of wearing the mask when in public, frequent washing of hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer and to avoid crowded spaces. These measures, reduce your risk of contracting monkeypox virus.”
Related: WHO working closely with countries responding to monkeypox
The MOH noted that it will “continue to be vigilant for the early detection and management of any case of monkeypox imported to Saint Lucia,” and will provide updates on monkeypox as more information becomes available.”