(Ministry of Health and Wellness)

While there have been no confirmed or suspected cases of Monkeypox in Barbados, to date, the Ministry of Health and Wellness continues to maintain a state of vigilance in response to the ongoing multi-country outbreak of the disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently described the outbreak as distributed over five main regions, including Europe, America, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Western Pacific and Africa.  In the Caribbean Region, Jamaica confirmed their first case of Monkeypox on July 6.

Monkeypox is a disease of global health importance which primarily occurs near the tropical rain forests of Central and West Africa with the primary hosts being rodents and non-human primates such as monkeys. However, this current outbreak is being identified in non-endemic areas and is being spread from human-to-human with the majority of the cases seen in Europe.

Humans can contract the virus by direct contact with an infectious rash, scab, or body fluids of an infected person or animal.  Human-to-human transmission can occur as a result of prolonged face-to-face, intimate, physical contact, or, touching items that have previously been handled by an infected individual. Development of symptoms can occur up to 21 days after contact with a case.

The virus classically began with flu-like symptoms (fever and body aches), with swelling of the lymph nodes and progression to a widespread rash on the face and body.  The red bumps eventually turn into pus-filled blisters that crust over. 

In the current outbreak this classic progression may not hold as cases have presented with a rash on only one area of the body. This illness can last for approximately 2 to 4 weeks. There are no specific treatments for the Monkeypox virus, however, medications can be used to manage the symptoms.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue its active surveillance and the sensitisation of port health personnel on the management of the Monkeypox virus.  The Ministry will also keep the public informed of any public health developments of concern.

Ministry of Health and Wellness

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