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Health Ministry issues statement on T&T monkeypox cases

July 14, 2023

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is assuring the public that it will continue to maintain a state of vigilance as it relates to the monkeypox virus.

This in light of recent reported cases in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago.

The 1st case in T&T was reported on July 11, 2023 – a middle-aged man with a history of recent travel – and the 2nd, reported July 12, was a young adult male. No information was provided on his travel history.

In Barbados, the Ministry of Health says since the 1st local case was announced on July 12, 2022, there have been no confirmed or suspected cases on the island.

It says it will continue its active surveillance and sensitisation of Port health personnel on the management of the monkeypox virus, and will keep Barbadians informed of any public health developments of concern.

The Ministry says 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, last year’s outbreak was identified in non-endemic areas and was spread from human to human with most 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 begins with flu-like symptoms (fever and body aches), and swelling of the lymph nodes and progression to a widespread rash on the face and or other parts of the body. The red bumps eventually turn into pus-filled blisters that crust over. This illness can last for approximately two to four weeks.

There are no specific treatments for the monkeypox virus, however, medications can be used to manage the symptoms.

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