The Ministry of Health is dealing with six suspected monkeypox cases in Saint Lucia

The Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs continues to monitor the case of monkeypox at the global, regional and national levels. As of July 20, 2022, 15,378 cases of smallpox were diagnosed globally in 71 countries, of which 15,135 were in 65 countries that did not historically report monkeypox, including the Caribbean.

As of Wednesday, July 20, 2022, the Saint Lucia Department of Health is managing six suspected cases of monkeypox, four of which have no travel history outside of Saint Lucia.

These suspected cases are managed in isolation while waiting for the results of monkeypox tests. The Epidemiology Unit at the Ministry of Health is tracing contacts of these suspected cases.

Monkeypox is a viral disease caused by the monkeypox virus that 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 objects contaminated with pest material.

The virus is also transmitted by respiratory droplets. Human-to-human transmission is responsible for the majority of cases in the 2022 monkeypox outbreak.

The disease is characterized by the appearance of fever, headache, backache, muscle aches, weakness, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that progresses through several stages from being flat and red to small, raised bumps like pimples.

These vesicles then turn into fluid-filled vesicles that fill with pus before drying out to form crusts that fall off when new skin forms at the sites of the lesion. A person remains contagious from the onset of symptoms until the lesions fall off as new skin forms. Symptoms may last from two to four weeks.

The Department of Health encourages people with these symptoms including rashes to go to the nearest health care facility for evaluation.

Rapid identification and management of monkeypox cases will limit the spread of this infectious disease in the community.

Others are advised to take measures to reduce the risk of developing monkeypox.

These measures include washing hands frequently with soap and water or using hand sanitizers, wearing face masks in public, and practicing physical distancing.

In addition, people are encouraged to eat healthy food, avoid excessive alcohol intake, stop smoking, and exercise regularly. People with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes are asked to work with their healthcare provider to ensure that these diseases are under control.

The public is advised to use the Department of Health as a reliable source of monkeypox information in Saint Lucia. Individuals can find this information on the Ministry of Health’s Facebook page and the Office of Health Education’s Facebook page.

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Aged Affairs will provide updates to the public when additional information becomes available.

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