The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Elderly Affairs is monitoring the current situation of monkeypox which has been identified in several countries around the world during the month of May 2022. To date, no cases of monkeypox have was diagnosed in Saint Lucia. Monkeypox is a rare viral disease caused by the monkeypox virus and is mainly found in parts of Africa.
The Monkeypox virus is transmitted when a person comes into contact with the virus from a human, animal, or material contaminated with the virus. Human-to-human transmission occurs primarily through large respiratory droplets. Other methods of human-to-human transmission include direct contact with bodily fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens.
About 7 to 14 days after exposure to monkeypox virus, people may develop flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes. Within 1-3 days (sometimes longer) after the onset of fever, the patient develops a rash, which often starts on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body. The disease usually lasts 2 to 4 weeks and can cause the death of 1 to 10% of people who contract the disease.
Vaccination against smallpox provides some level of cross-protection against monkeypox. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Elderly Affairs is urging everyone to be vigilant and seek medical attention if they develop fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes or rash, among others . Let’s continue to practice the public health measures of wearing the mask in public, washing hands frequently with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and avoiding crowded spaces. These measures reduce your risk of contracting the monkeypox virus. The Ministry of Health will continue to be vigilant for the early detection and management of any case of imported monkeypox in Saint Lucia.