The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs is monitoring the current situation of Monkeypox that has been identified in several countries around the world during the month of May 2022. To date, no case of monkeypox has been diagnosed in Saint Lucia. Monkeypox is a rare viral disease caused by the monkeypox virus and is found mostly in areas of Africa.
Monkeypox virus is transmitted when a person comes into contact with the virus from an infected human, animal, or material contaminated with the virus. Human-to-human transmission occurs primarily through large respiratory droplets. Other human-to-human methods of transmission include direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens.
Approximately 7 to 14 days after exposure to the monkeypox virus, people may develop flu-like symptoms which include fever, headache, muscle ache, back pain, exhaustion and swelling of lymph nodes. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, which often begins on the face then spreads to other parts of the body. Illness typically lasts for 2 to 4 weeks and can cause death in 1 to10%ofpeople contracting the disease.
Vaccination against smallpox offers some level of cross-protection against monkeypox. The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs is encouraging everyone to be vigilant and to seek medical care if they develop fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes or a rash, among others. Let us continue to practice the public health measures of wearing the mask when in public, frequent washing of hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer and to avoid crowded spaces. These measures, reduce your risk of contracting monkeypox virus. The Ministry of Health will continue to be vigilant for the early detection and management of any case of monkeypox imported to Saint Lucia.