(CMC) – Bermuda has become the latest Caribbean country to confirm a case of the monkeypox virus, while St Lucia said it is monitoring six suspected cases, including four with no travel history out of the island.
The virus has been detected so far in The Bahamas, Jamaica and Barbados.
The Bermuda Ministry of Health, which is working in collaboration with overseas agencies on the case, is investigating potential close contacts of the patient, a spokeswoman said on Thursday night.
The virus, which causes flu-like illness and a rash, has spread in a string of communities outside Africa since a cluster of infections was identified in Britain in early May.
The ministry said in May that the island was on the alert for cases of the virus.
Acting Health Minister, Jason Hayward, said in a statement “Monkeypox is rare, not life-threatening and Bermuda is well prepared to detect the disease and take suitable public health measures to prevent its spread.”
He continued: “The Ministry of Health has provided guidance for primary care providers and the Bermuda Molecular Diagnostics and Research Laboratory lab on sample handling. The hospital also has appropriate isolation facilities to support treatment.”
Hayward said that the ministry was working with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency, (CARPHA), the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the UK Health Security Agency.
“Our port health officials know how to screen and recognise possible cases and take appropriate action. Our healthcare professionals know how to identify, immediately isolate and report cases to local and regional health authorities,” the acting health minister added.
Meanwhile, St Lucia’s Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs said it is monitoring six suspected Monkeypox cases.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr Glensford Joseph in a statement said that four cases have no travel history out of St Lucia and that contact tracing is underway.
“These suspected cases are being managed in isolation while they await the results of the Monkeypox tests,” Dr Joseph disclosed.
As of July, 22, there have been 15,378 MonkeyPox virus cases reported in 71 countries including in 65 countries that have not historically reported cases, including in the Caribbean.
Monkeypox may take between five and 21 days for first symptoms to appear. Most people recover within several weeks without requiring hospital treatment.