The Gleaner: KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica is now able to conduct testing for the Monkeypox virus.
There are no confirmed cases of the virus in the country.
It follows a regional training in laboratory detection and diagnosis of the viral condition arranged by the National Public Health Lab in collaboration with the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO).
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie said the workshop is part of the public health system’s preparedness and response activities in the case of an outbreak.
“This hands-on training equips our public health team to ensure the timely detection of any suspected cases,” Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie said of the training which involved ten 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 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, the formation of lesions and skin rashes.
As of June 15, some 2,103 cases the disease have been confirmed globally, according to Friday’s update from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“The outbreak of monkeypox continues to primarily affect men who have sex with men who have reported recent sex with new or multiple partners,” the update said.
It added that the current risk for the general public remains low.
Cases have been detected in 42 countries including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
The WHO has also indicated that it is working with experts to rename the virus.
More than 30 scientists wrote last week about the “urgent need for a non-discriminatory and non-stigmatising” name for the virus and the disease it causes.
The say continued reference to the virus as African is “not only inaccurate but is also discriminatory and stigmatizing.”