Jamaica: COVID-19 protocols will help with control of monkeypox

Kingston – The Jamaica government says the measures put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will also reduce the likelihood of transmission of the Monkeypox virus.

Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton said Jamaica has reported no cases of the virus “at this time”. He said, however, that the public is being advised that the present COVID-19 measures of practising physical distancing, mask wearing and frequent hand sanitisation will also reduce the likelihood of the transmission of the virus.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Wellness described the Moneypox virus “as a rare disease that is similar to smallpox and can be transmitted by contact and droplets”.

It quoted the World Health Organisation as saying that the current outbreak of the virus, which has been detected in 11 countries, “is spreading primarily through sexual contact”.

Chief Medical officer, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie, said people must report to the health department if fever and rash occur following recent international travel or close contact with people who travelled within the last three weeks.

The ministry warned that children are at higher risk, and Monkeypox during pregnancy may lead to complications or still birth.

“The virus is normally found in animals but the disease may represent a risk of person to person transmission. There is likely to be little immunity to the infection in those travelling,” the ministry warned.

Earlier this week, the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) called on the government to initiate contingency planning should Jamaica record any case of the virus.

PNP spokesperson on Health Dr Morais Guy said the Monkeypox disease is not well-known and, as such, every precaution should be taken to keep it from reaching Jamaica.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus that belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. The Orthopoxvirus genus also includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.

Guy in a statement said that the Andrew Holness government has a responsibility to educate the public about its condition and symptoms because it poses a threat to the island. (CMC)

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