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Although there have been no confirmed cases of monkeypox in Saint Lucia, Minister for Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs Moses Jn Baptiste has appealed to citizens to remain vigilant.
The health minister’s appeal follows a recent monkeypox advisory in which the results of six suspected cases tested came back negative.
“This does not mean we are out of the woods,” Jn Baptiste declared.
Jn Baptiste continued: “We need to be even more vigilant because as you know Barbados has declared a case, Martinique and Jamaica as well. So we have to be even more vigilant.”
Saint Lucia’s health officials, he stated, have started training with a number of health care professionals and are also setting up an isolation unit at the Respiratory Hospital to treat patients who have been positively diagnosed with monkeypox.
“We continue to strengthen our systems. Our experience with Covd-19 and how we dealt with it certainly will help us to deal with any monkeypox case… that is a very serious matter,” Jn Baptiste declared.
On July 23, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the monkeypox outbreak a ‘global health emergency.”
Monkeypox is primarily reported near the tropical rain forests of Central and West Africa with the primary hosts being rodents and non-human primates such as monkeys. However, this latest outbreak is being identified in non-endemic areas and is being spread from human-to-human with the majority of the cases seen in Europe.
In the event of an outbreak of both covid-19 and monkeypox, Minister Jn Baptiste said there is a system in place which will allow for the management of both diseases.
“We continue to strengthen these systems. You will note that when we suspected the cases the people were quickly isolated and we did the testing. So yes the systems are in place and are ready. If we have an overwhelming number of cases certainly we will have to review our systems,” the health minister stated.
Some monkeypox symptoms are similar to the flu. Symptoms include fever and body aches, with swelling of the lymph nodes and progression to a widespread rash on the face and body.
The red bumps eventually turn into pus-filled blisters that crust over.
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