Health Ministry increases monkeypox surveillance in Antigua and Barbuda

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment of Antigua and Barbuda issued an advisory for the people after the World Health Organisation declared that the multi-country outbreak of monkeypox constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. 

Health Ministry increases monkeypox surveillance in Antigua and Barbuda
Health Ministry increases monkeypox surveillance in Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda: The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment of Antigua and Barbuda issued an advisory for the people after the World Health Organisation declared that the multi-country outbreak of monkeypox constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. 

As such, in keeping with WHO’s recommendations, the MOHWE has increased its monkeypox surveillance at the ports of entry of the country and at health care facilities. They stated that they are also ensuring that they have the capacity to test for the monkeypox virus at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre. 

Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which is similar to the smallpox virus. Persons typically experience a fever, a rash, swollen lymph nodes and muscle pain. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek attention from their healthcare provider. Physicians are reminded to report any suspected cases of monkeypox to the MOHWE’s Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit. 

Monkeypox is spread from person to person through direct contact with the rash, body fluids, and scabs. Clothing, sheets, towels and other objects can also be sources of infection. The virus is also transmitted from a pregnant mother to her unborn child. Respiratory secretions can also be a source of infection. There have been no laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox in Antigua and Barbuda since samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency have all been negative. Samples will be processed locally at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre in a few weeks. 

There is a specifc treatment for monkeypox. However, the public is advised that social and physical distancing, frequent handwashing and wearing facemasks many prevent infection. Persons are therefore strongly advised to practise these public health and social measure during this carnival season to avoid becoming infected with the monkeypox virus.