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Monkeypox Watch: Health Officials Place Passengers of Interest in Quarantine

Image of Chief Medical Officer Dr Sharon Belmar George
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sharon Belmar George

After a crew member on a flight arriving in Saint Lucia tested positive for the monkeypox virus, the Epidemiology Department within the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs immediately initiated contact tracing and quarantined all passengers of interest. Currently, these individuals are being monitored by the Home Monitoring Team for twentyone days. As of today, the monkeypox virus has not been confirmed in Saint Lucia.

In an effort to manage the monitoring of individuals in quarantine and provide hospital care, the Victoria Hospital has an assigned and dedicated ward. The monkeypox virus is managed by treating the symptoms.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) will be providing support for testing and therefore, anyone who exhibits symptoms while in quarantine/isolation, samples will be taken and shall be sent directly to CARPHA for testing. The Ezra Long Lab has received reagents and test kits to facilitate in-country testing of monkeypox. The Pan American Health Organisation PAHO provided training to the lab staff to build their capacity for testing in country.

As the Ministry of Health prepares for its response to the monkeypox situation, a series of briefings and discussions have been undertaken with the Public Health and Primary Care team within the ministry and secondary care health institutions. In the coming days, the Ministry of Health will be undertaking engagements with stakeholders within the health sector, both public and private and also the tourism sector. Currently, all protocols are being reviewed and updated to assist with the management of the monkeypox virus.

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As the Ministry of Health continues to monitor the monkeypox situation, it is requested that anyone with a recent travel history to self-monitor for the onset of flu-like symptoms including fever, rash, headache and muscle ache. If any of these symptoms are observed, it is necessary that the individual seeks medical attention immediately.

The Ministry of Health will continue to provide the public will updates as soon as this information is available.

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