Vaccines for Monkeypox disease available in September

The hands of a person infected with monkey pox
The hands of a person infected with Monkey Pox (Photo credit: Getty Images)

The first set of vaccines to treat the monkeypox disease is expected to arrive in the island this month, says Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton. “We have a priority group that will be targeted, similarly to what we [did] with the COVID-19 [vaccine distribution], and once they arrive, we will offer it to that group,” Dr Tufton said. “If there is any problem at all, go to your parish health office or report to your school nurse,” he alerted students.

Tufton advised that the same health and safety protocols that were in place to manage the spread of the COVID-19 virus within schools will also be maintained throughout the new school year. Some of these include social distancing (6ft apart), wearing masks, frequent handwashing, and having designated areas for sanitization on school grounds. “The Ministry and the Ministry of Education and Youth work closely together. There are briefing sessions; we work with the school nurses [and] guidance counsellors the schools are aware of what to look for and recommendations  made to health centres, doctors [and] hospitals”, he noted.

The senior medical officer for the Spanish Town Hospital and consultant paediatrician, Dr Jacqueline Wright James, said in a news report that there is no need for panic, as the “[monkeypox case] numbers aren’t significantly high in Jamaica. And more so for children, they are less infected than the adults. We have seen some paediatric cases worldwide and, therefore, it is not impossible for a child to contract monkeypox. “We have come through the COVID-19 Pandemic for the last two and a half years and those measures that we enforced to reduce the spread are really the same measures that we will enforce for monkeypox”, Wright James added.

Jamaica has recorded two more cases of the monkeypox virus, increasing the island’s tally to seven. Dr Tufton said the additional cases were detected on Wednesday 31 August 2022. “There is no evidence, up to this point, to suggest that they were imported cases but it is an indication that the virus is out there and more people are being exposed to it,” he said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from two to four weeks. It is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus. Also, the monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with cuts, body fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated materials such as bedding. It, typically, presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications.

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