Health Ministry staying vigilant on monkeypox outbreak

While to date there have been no confirmed or suspected cases of Monkeypox in Barbados, the Ministry of Health and Wellness is maintaining a state of vigilance in response to the reported outbreak in parts of Europe and the United States.

In a statement today, the Ministry indicated that it would continue its active surveillance with respect to the global situation and intended to keep the public informed of any public health developments of concern.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has received reports of Monkeypox cases in 12 member states not normally endemic for the virus since the beginning of May.

These include the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Canada, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Australia and the United States. The WHO has reported 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected as of May 21, 2022.

Monkeypox is a disease of global health importance which primarily occurs near the tropical rain forests of Central and West Africa, but is now being seen more often in urban areas. The primary hosts of monkeypox are rodents and non-human primates such as monkeys.

Humans can contract the virus by direct contact with blood or body fluids or skin lesions of infected animals. Human to human transmission occurs as a result of direct contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions or respiratory droplets of an infected person.  This occurs typically in a same-household or healthcare setting.

The virus typically begins with flu-like symptoms (fever and body aches), with swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a widespread rash on the face and body. The red bumps eventually turn to pus-filled blisters that crust over. Monkeypox disease is rarely fatal. (BGIS)

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