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Monkeypox virus concept. Medical desk

Ministry of Health, Wellness & Elderly Affairs

Communications on this subject should be addressed to: Permanent Secretary

July 21, 2021

Press Release

Sir Stanislaus James Building Waterfront, Castries

Saint Lucia, West Indies

PUBLIC HEALTH UPDATE ON MONKEYPOX

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs continues to monitor the Monkeypox situation globally, regionally and nationally. As of July 20, 2022, 15,378 Monkeypox cases have been diagnosed globally in 71 countries, of which 15,135 occurred in 65 countries that have not historically reported Monkeypox, including Caribbean countries.

As of Wednesday July 20, 2022, the Ministry of Health is managing six (6) suspected cases of Monkeypox, of which four have no travel history out of Saint Lucia. These suspected cases are being managed in isolation while they await their results of the Monkeypox tests. The Epidemiology Unit within the Ministry of Health is conducting contact tracing for these suspected cases.

Monkeypox is a viral disease caused by the Monkeypox virus which is usually transmitted from animal to human in some African countries but can also be transmitted from human to human through direct contact with skin lesions or indirect contact with contaminated objects with lesion materials. The virus is also transmitted through respiratory droplets. Human to human transmission is responsible for the majority of cases in this 2022 Monkeypox outbreak.

The disease is characterized by the onset of fever, headache, back pain, muscle ache, weakness, swollen lymph nodes and a rash that progresses through several stages from being flat and red to small, raised bumps like pimples. These then change to fluid filled vesicles that become pus filled before drying to form scabs which fall off as new skin forms at the lesion sites. A person remains infectious from the onset of symptoms until the lesions fall off with the formation of new skin. Symptoms may last two to four weeks.

The Ministry of Health is encouraging persons who develop these symptoms including a rash to go to the nearest health care facility for evaluation. The rapid identification and management of Monkeypox cases will limit the spread of this infectious disease in the community.

Others are advised to take measures that limit their risk of contracting Monkeypox. These measures include frequent washing of hands with soap and water or use of hand sanitizers, the wearing of face masks when in public spaces, and the practicing of physical distancing. In addition, people are encouraged to eat healthy, avoid excessive use of alcohol, stop smoking, and have regular exercise. People with chronic illnesses like hypertension and diabetes are asked to work with their health care provider to ensure control of these illnesses.

The public is advised to use the Ministry of Health as the reliable source of Monkeypox information in Saint Lucia. Individuals can receive this information on the Ministry of Health Facebook page and the Bureau of Health Education Facebook page.

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs will provide updates to the public as added information becomes available.

For more information, please contact the Office of the Chief Medical Officer or the Epidemiology Unit at 468-5309/468-5317 respectively

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Tel: (758)468- 5303/5304 ~~~ Fax: (758)452 5655 ~~~E-mail: pshealth@govt.lc

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