Barbados has recorded its first confirmed case of monkeypox.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Ian Gooding-Edghill made the announcement in an address to the nation alongside Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kenneth George, on Saturday morning.
“This case is a Barbadian male in his 30s who attended the Winston Scott Polyclinic with symptoms of a progressive rash, body pains and fever. He sought medical attention at the polyclinic within hours of his arrival in Barbados. The patient was seen and assessed based on a history of recent travel and clinical manifestations,” the minister said.
Gooding-Edghill explained that the samples from the patient were sent to the Best-Dos Santos Public Health Laboratory, and the results, which came back in 24 hours, revealed a positive case of monkeypox. The patient is currently in isolation and is under the supervision of the Medical Officer of Health.
“I am confident that the Ministry’s speedy announcement of this case will, as has occurred with our response to COVID-19, get from the Barbadian public the same level of cooperation in our ongoing management of monkeypox health issue,” he said.
“The Ministry of Health and Wellness has commenced contact tracing as a responsible public health measure. Let me assure the public that the Ministry of Health and Wellness is fully prepared to handle any cases of monkeypox in our nation.”
George said that there was no need to panic and that anyone who was aware of individuals with monkeypox symptoms should alert the public health authorities so they could be treated accordingly. He also recommended the wearing of masks and the frequent washing of hands.
George explained that Monkeypox was spread through close intimate contact with infected lesions. It may also be spread from fomites and droplets. Individuals with monkeypox will develop an early set of symptoms which include fever; flu-like symptoms such as headaches, coughs, sore throat and fatigue.
They are most infectious at the beginning stage when the rash appears. The symptoms last between 14 to 21 days. All patients will be isolated for 21 days and will be monitored by public health officials.
There are vaccines for monkeypox but none are currently available in the Caribbean and they are recommended for special high-risk groups. (JC)