COVID-19 measures a good defence against Monkeypox – Health Ministry

KINGSTON, Jamaica. Tuesday, May 24, 2022: The Ministry of Health &

Wellness is advising that there are no cases of monkeypox reported in the

country at this time, however, the public is being advised that the present

COVID-19 measures of practicing physical distancing, mask wearing and

frequent hand sanitization will also reduce the likelihood of transmission of the

monkeypox virus.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is similar to smallpox and can be transmitted by

contact and droplet exposure. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO)

has reported that the current outbreak is spreading primarily through sexual

contact. Over the last two weeks, monkeypox outbreaks have been reported in

Europe, North America and Australia. Most cases are linked to persons with

recent travel to countries where monkeypox is endemic, mainly in the region of

West Africa.

According to Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie, “Persons

must report to the health department if fever and rash occurs following recent

international travel or close contact with persons who travelled within the

preceding three weeks. Healthcare workers are to have a heightened sense of

awareness of this illness and report suspected cases to the health department.”

In countries where monkeypox is endemic:

• Human to human transmission of monkeypox occurs by contact and

droplet exposure via exhaled large droplets.

• The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can

range from 5 to 21 days.

• Symptoms can be mild or severe, and associated with skin rash that can

be very itchy or painful. Severe disease may be fatal.

• The disease is often self-limiting with symptoms usually resolving

spontaneously within 14 to 21 days.

• Symptoms include fever, chills, intense headaches, exhaustion, backache,

muscle ache, swollen lymph nodes, and rash.


• Children are at higher risk, and monkeypox during pregnancy may lead to

complications, congenital monkeypox or stillbirth.

• The virus is normally found in animals but the disease may be transmitted

from animals to humans, usually through bites or scratches or

consumption of bush meat.

Milder cases of monkeypox may go undetected and represent a risk of

person-to-person transmission. There is likely to be little immunity to the

infection in those travelling.

For more information on monkeypox, join the Ministry of Health & Wellness for a

Virtual Webinar on Thursday, May 26, 2022 at 12:30 p.m. where experts will

explain the virus and answer questions from members of the public.


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