Health Ministry confirms first local monkeypox case

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Terrence Deyalsingh –

The Ministry of Health has confirmed the country’s first monkeypox virus case.

In a release issued just after 5 pm on Tuesday, the ministry said the patient, a middle-aged man with a history of international travel, was tested earlier in the day.

The sample was sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency’s (CARPHA) laboratory through the Trinidad Public Health lab for further analysis. The test  returned positive.

The County Medical Officer of Health then initiated a public health response including contact tracing. The ministry emphasised the need for public vigilance to prevent the spread of the virus.

The virus continues to circulate globally, with the World Health Organization’s update as of July 4 reporting 88,144 cases across 112 countries, with 149 deaths.

It said the virus can cause illness that ranges from mild to severe and is primarily transmitted through close contact or respiratory droplets.

Signs and symptoms include a skin rash or mucosal lesions lasting two-four weeks, accompanied by fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, and swollen lymph nodes.Anyone with these symptoms must seek immediate medical attention at the nearest health facility.

In order to prevent spread, the ministry reminded the public to maintain good hygiene practices such as regular hand-washing and sanitisation.

While a monkeypox vaccine is available in the health care system, at present, it is being used exclusively for contacts of known positive cases.