Monkeypox on a child. Image via CDC.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said on Friday he is paying attention to the global increase in cases of monkeypox.
Deyalsingh was visiting the Paddock, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, to get his second booster shot of the covid19 vaccine.
Responding to a question from Newsday about possible cases of monkeypox in the Caribbean and specifically in TT, Deyalsingh said the issue had been discussed.
“I just had an emergency meeting Thursday morning with the health team headed by chief medical officer Dr Roshan Parasram, epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds, chief medical officer Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards, the vaccination team, and representatives from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO),” he said.
Deyalsingh said he is concerned.
“We must not take this lightly, which is why we had an emergency meeting today and will give more details today at 3pm,” he said.
So far, cases of monkeypox have been detected in the US, the UK, Spain, and Portugal. The first case was reported on May 7.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease, with the symptoms lasting from two-four weeks.
It may be severe and lead to a range of medical complications. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around three-six per cent.
Typical symptoms are fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes.
Caused by monkeypox virus, the disease is spread to humans from animals and then from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
It occurs mainly in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa, but is occasionally exported elsewhere.
An antiviral agent developed to treat smallpox has also been licensed for treating monkeypox.