Increased Monkeypox Surveillance In St Lucia After Airline Crewmember Tests Positive

(CMC) – Health authorities in St Lucia have increased surveillance for Monkeypox after being alerted that a crewmember on a flight to the island has since tested positive for the virus.

However, according to officials, the individual did not disembark from the aircraft when it arrived.

A statement issued on Monday by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs disclosed that the Epidemiology Department was alerted to the situation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“As obtained with infectious diseases, the required contact tracing process is currently being undertaken by the contact tracing team within the Ministry of Health. All identified contacts of the case shall be contacted by the Ministry of Health and placed in quarantine and monitored over a 21-day period,” it said.

The Ministry added that with the significant increase in the number of cases of Monkeypox confirmed globally in recent weeks, St Lucia has strengthened its capacity to manage individuals who are either suspected or confirmed cases.

It said the protocols that are in place for COVID-19 have been modified to allow for the management of Monkeypox.

“Any person exposed to Monkeypox shall be placed in quarantine and monitored by the Home Monitoring Team of clinicians. The capacity for testing for the Monkeypox virus exists within the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and as such, samples will be taken from any individual who exhibits symptoms while in quarantine/isolation and shall be sent directly to CARPHA for testing,” the health ministry said.

It added that the Victoria Hospital has assigned a dedicated ward for the care and management of anyone who receives a positive test result.

The management of Monkeypox is done by treating symptoms and there is the capacity in-country to effectively undertake this, the Ministry added.

According to the World Health Organization’s latest report, there are over 2,100 confirmed cases globally and at least one person has died.