Monkeypox Declared A Global Emergency
Jamaica strengthens response for prevention & spread
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the global outbreak of Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). This followed the WHO emergency committee’s second meeting on the virus, at the end of which the current outbreak was given the highest level of alert.
According to the International Health Regulations (IHR), a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) is a formal declaration of “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response.”
The pronouncement is given when a public health event arises that is serious, uncommon, and carries implications for the international community. A public health threat of this nature may require immediate international action.
Health team fortifies response actions
More than a month ago, Jamaica began activating the required heath protocols for Monkeypox. Local preparations were further bolstered by the ability to conduct testing for the viral infection.
On July 6, 2022, the island recorded its first case of Monkeypox – a male who travelled from the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, as part of increasing readiness, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie says the Ministry has intensified surveillance for fever and rash.
“The declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by WHO serves to reinforce the country’s coordinated response for prevention, and to detect early and stop transmission,” highlighted the CMO.
Currently, more than 75 countries including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom have reported cases of Monkeypox.
Jamaicans to exercise caution
In light of this, Jamaicans are again being urged to remain vigilant by heightening their adherence to the infection prevention measures for COVID-19 which are effective in limiting spread of Monkeypox, notably, frequent handwashing/sanitisation, mask-wearing and physical distancing.
Spread of Monkeypox may occur when a person comes into close contact with an infected animal or individual. Person-to-person spread may occur through:
- direct contact with Monkeypox skin lesions or scabs;
- contaminated personal items such as clothing, bed linen or towels used by an infected person; and
- respiratory droplets by way of coughing or sneezing of an individual with a Monkeypox rash.
Symptoms of Monkeypox are usually mild to moderate and include fever, intense headache, swelling of the lymph nodes, back pain, muscle ache, and/or rash on the skin.
Members of the public who experience these warning signs must immediately isolate and call ahead to their health centre or doctor before visiting.
For additional information on Monkeypox, members of public can visit the Ministry’s website (www.moh.gov.jm) or contact their local Parish Health Department.
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