BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - HEALTH officials in St. Lucia are monitoring six suspected cases of the Monkeypox virus on the island, with several of them having no travel history.
This was confirmed yesterday (Jul. 21) by the Ministry of Health in a media statement, raising concerns that it is already within the population and could spread further.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs said it continues to monitor the Monkeypox situation globally, regionally and nationally.
Health officials in Castries said they are managing six suspected cases, four of which have no travel history out of St. Lucia.
“These suspected cases are being managed in isolation while they await their results of the Monkeypox tests. The Epidemiology Unit within the Ministry of Health is conducting contact tracing for these suspected cases,” the statement read.
As of Wednesday (Jul. 20), there were 15,378 cases diagnosed globally in 71 countries, 15,135 of which occurred in 65 countries that have not historically reported Monkeypox, including Caribbean countries.
Monkeypox is a viral disease caused by the Monkeypox virus which is usually transmitted from animal to human in some African countries, but can also be transmitted from human to human through direct contact with skin lesions or indirect contact with contaminated objects with lesion
According to health officials, the virus is also transmitted through respiratory droplets and that human to human transmission is responsible for the majority of cases in this 2022 Monkeypox outbreak.
The Ministry of Health in Castries noted that the disease is characterized by the onset of fever, headache, back pain, muscle ache, weakness, swollen lymph nodes and a rash that progresses through several stages from being flat and red to small, raised bumps like pimples.
These then change to fluid filled vesicles that become pus filled before drying to form scabs which fall off as new skin forms at the lesion sites.
“A person remains infectious from the onset of symptoms until the lesions fall off with the formation of new skin. Symptoms may last two to four weeks,” the Ministry added.