Jamaica is now able to conduct testing for the Monkeypox virus, says the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
This follows a regional training in laboratory detection and diagnosis of the viral condition, which was arranged by the National Public Health Laboratory in collaboration with the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO).
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jacqueline Bisasor-McKenzie, said the workshop was part of the public health system’s preparedness and response activities in the case of an outbreak.
“Jamaica’s National Public Health Lab and National Influenza Centre are now equipped to carry out testing for the Monkeypox uirus. This hands-on training equips our public health team to ensure the timely detection of any suspected cases,” said Bisasor-McKenzie as carried in a release from the ministry.
Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie
The workshop on the Laboratory Detection and Diagnosis of Monkeypox Virus was held recently, and involved 10 participants from four Caribbean countries – Jamaica, Bahamas, Guyana and Suriname.
“Human Monkeypox virus, if found in Jamaica, would be considered an exotic or unusual communicable disease, and should therefore be reported as a Class 1 notifiable disease. Healthcare workers (public and private) must report cases immediately on suspicion to the respective parish health department and the National Surveillance Unit, the CMO added.
Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that is spread primarily through animals. While person-to-person spread is uncommon, it may occur through direct contact with an infected individual.
Infection typically results in symptoms, including fever, back pain and muscle pain, and the formation of lesions and skin rashes.
There are, at this time, no confirmed cases of the Monkeypox virus in Jamaica.