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MoHW Monitoring Spread of Monkeypox

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is monitoring the spread of monkey pox in other countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) is reporting that since May 13, cases of monkeypox have been reported in 12 Member States including the United States. WHO says that epidemiological investigations are ongoing, however, reported cases thus far have no established travel links to endemic areas. Data shows that cases have mainly but not exclusively been identified amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) seeking care in primary care and sexual health clinics. Given the global travel network, epidemiologist, Dr. Russell Manzanero says that it is not impossible that Belize records a case. 

Dr.Russel Manzanero, Epidemiologist, Ministry of Health and Wellness: “The majority of the cases right now being seen in Europe however in the first cases I think there was a link there to travel to Nigeria. So in the past when we’re talking about Monkeypox this was something seen in Central and West Africa so that was where pretty much those cases were first seen and of course because of intermingling with animals, the movement of went from animals to human so that was the initial transmission there. I guess what we’re talking now is that since I guess COVID has kind of changed and there is more travel, there is more interaction with individuals this is the scenario now that the spread of Monkeypox as well. I do believe that what has happened is many of the countries have heightened their surveillance systems after COVID so they are now detecting other illnesses that are being seen since their surveillance has been stepped up due to covid. When we’re talking about transmission if it will get in this region of the Caribbean it is likely I mean with the increase of travel there is increase of spread and it might happen I’m not saying it won’t but it can because of that nature but you also have to take into account that this is something that has been in existence,  it’s not new to us it has been there so there is some immunity because of some past vaccinations. The virus isn’t new light covid. So when you’re talking about a novel virus such as COVID I mean our bodies, our immune system hadn’t developed any immunity towards COVID so they’re spread and the severity was evident but in this case since we’re talking about Monkeypox that has been around since then we don’t believe it would be that severe.” 

According to Dr. Manzanero, monkeypox is usually self-limiting but may be severe in some individuals, such as children, pregnant women or persons with immune suppression due to other health conditions.

Dr.Russel Manzanero, Epidemiologist, Ministry of Health and Wellness: “ It is one of the less severe forms of this virus. I mean it’s not a severe Smallpox that we had some years ago but it does but it does have a presentation somewhat similar to the others. You’re talking about fever, a rash that would usually start on the face then extend to the limbs , both palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. Of course you might start feeling tired you know it’s similar to when I think you can associate it with chicken pox like when you’re starting to talk about chicken pox when you’re starting to have those symptoms you start seeing the little rashes of little bumps come out first and then you notice that afterwards they get full up like a blister and then they might have puss and then from there they kind of start forming a crust and it comes off, it’s pretty much what we’re seeing in Monkeypox. What is in addition to this is that you might find that the difference between these is that in Monkeypox you have the swollen lymph nodes behind the ear, around the neck you know so I think that’s so I think that’s one of the distinguishing marks that if somebody is seeing these kinds of symptoms but you also look for that kind of swollen lymph nodes and that is what might be indicative of a suspected Monkeypox.” 

Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding. The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.