Monkeypox on local radar but no Caribbean cases

| 23/05/2022 | 49 Comments
Monkeypox

(CNS): Health officials around the world are increasingly concerned about the number of cases of monkeypox emerging in more countries. The Cayman Islands Public Health Department said it is aware that this smallpox-related virus could appear in the Caribbean, but so far no cases have been reported.

But with a suspected case in Florida, Interim Chief Medical Officer Dr Autilia Newton has issued a note to raise awareness and ensure prompt recognition if it does spread to this region.

So far over 80 cases of the virus have been reported in 15 nations outside of Africa. Endemic to areas of West and Central Africa, the viral infection is usually a mild self-limiting illness, spread by contact with wild rodents, primates or dogs in the endemic areas or very close contact with someone who is infected.

“The risk to the Cayman Islands is only hypothetical at this stage and the purpose of this note is to provide concise, factual information to health professionals and the public alike, while raising awareness about signs and symptoms,” Dr Newton said. “Awareness by medical professionals and the community will enable prompt recognition of cases, should any appear in the Cayman Islands,” she added.

Health officials said any suspected case should be reported promptly to Public Health so that timely infection control measures can be taken.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the significant differences, the news of a notable number of seemingly unconnected cases of monkeypox among people who have not travelled to the relevant regions of Africa has fuelled concerns.

The United Kingdom has confirmed at least 21 cases, with several more suspected cases under investigation. Contact tracing is underway in the UK and other countries where the virus has been confirmed to urgently investigate where and how those infected acquired the virus and how they are all linked.

Dr Susan Hopkins, UKHSA Chief Medical Adviser, said that the cases in the UK and across Europe confirm concerns that the virus is being spread outside of Africa. Several of the European cases have been confirmed in men who had sex with other men. The UK HSA is particularly urging gay and bisexual men to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay if they have concerns. 

Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease but it is spread through very close bodily contact or from sharing a bed. The disease requires prolonged close contacts with a patient, especially with body secretions, including secretions from the skin lesions. It can spread from person to person via large respiratory droplets in the air. However, they cannot travel more than a few feet, so two people would need to have prolonged close contact.

It can transmit from animals to humans when an infected animal, such as a rodent or a primate, bites or scratches a person. Humans can also be infected when hunting wild animals or preparing bush meat for consumption.

Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body, including the genitals. The rash changes and goes through different stages, and can look like chickenpox or syphilis, before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.

Mortality is around 1%, depending on which of the two types of monkeypox viruses is involved. The type from the Congo Basin is more dangerous than that from West Africa, with the former found to be more virulent and transmissible. The geographical division between the two types is thought to be in Cameroon, as this is the only country where both have been detected.

Human monkeypox was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a 9-year-old boy in a region where smallpox had been eliminated in 1968. Since then, most cases have been reported from rural, rainforest regions of the Congo Basin, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it is considered to be endemic.

Since 1970, human cases of monkeypox have been reported from eleven African countries: Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan. In 2017 Nigeria experienced the largest documented outbreak, 40 years after the last confirmed case.

In 1996–97, a major monkeypox outbreak was suspected in the Democratic Republic of Congo with a lower case fatality and a higher attack rate than usual.

The virus has been exported from Africa a few times. In the spring of 2003, monkeypox cases were confirmed in the United States. Most patients were reported to have had close contact with pet prairie dogs that were infected by African rodents that had been imported into the country from Ghana.

Recently, monkeypox was carried to Israel and to the United Kingdom in September 2018 and December 2019 and to Singapore in May 2019 by travellers from Nigeria who fell ill with monkeypox after arrival.

Suspected cases should be reported promptly to Public Health at 244-2889 or 244-2621; or by emailing info@hsa.ky

See the video message by the ICMO below:


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Category: Health, Medical

Comments (49)

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  1. The Man in the Yellow Hat says:

    Thats it – close the borders and don’t let any monkeys in! And to be safe, lets keep an eye on the chickens as I hear they have their own pox variant.

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  2. Dave says:

    Change your ways that’s all. These stuff are to assist with your change.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    ‘The gays’ 🙄. I’d like to say I’m surprised but I’m really not. IQ of par golf.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    So you better take precautions then.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Same as aids.

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      • Anonymous says:

        That’s what they told us when AIDS started. It turned out not to be true.

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        • Anonymous says:

          It was true at first. Then spread to the heterosexual population. Viruses don’t discriminate. Monkey pox can be transmitted sexually or by close physical contact – but whilst in the UK at least at the moment it’s concentrated in the gay and bisexual male community, absolutely nothing to stop it spreading wider in the community.

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          • Anonymous says:

            incorrect….almost impossible for hetrosexual man to get aids from sex.

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            • Unhappy Caymanian says:

              WHAT??????

              You get HIV from:

              -Blood
              -Semen
              -Rectal fluids
              -Vaginal fluids
              -Breast milk

              HIV must get into blood through a mucous membrane.

              Normal vectors:

              -Shared intravenous injection or accidental inoculation from contaminated surface.
              -Having vaginal or anal sex with an infected person.

              less common:

              -mother to child during pregnancy, birth or breast feeding.

              -Needle stick type injury.

              There is nothing “almost” or “impossible” or sexual orientation dependant about it.

              Why am I not surprised by this comment from somebody living in Cayman?

              Whilst you may wish to die from ignorance others may not.

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        • Anonymous says:

          You are not implying the CDC could ever be wrong are you?

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    • Anonymous says:

      “the gays”? People still talk like this?

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      • Anonymous says:

        What is wrong describing a group of people in this way? Honest question.

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        • Anonymous says:

          24 @ 12:23 pm – Syntax and context lend a lot to the spoken or written word. Referring to “the gays” lends a certain condescending and less-than-respectful tone to the term…

          ..at least that’s how I took it and seemingly, so did the person @ 10:19 pm who apparently took offence. I’m not that person, nor am I gay.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ok then: Those of a sexual persuasion who prefer sexual interaction with persons of the same sexual persuasion.

        I remember the days when being ‘gay’ meant you were just plain happy!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well, there goes your personal life.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Don’t let the media scare CIG into locking us down again and destroying thousands of lives for a few.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Just a matter of time now

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  7. Anonymous says:

    We will be fine. In 2021 the WHO & Gates Foundation Exercise Portrayed Global Monkeypox Pandemic Killing Millions. We are prepared for it.

    CNS: Fact Check: Did Bill Gates Predict The Monkeypox Outbreak?

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Notice how most “tropical diseases” usually emanate from central or western Africa? Why? Why not South Africa or the Arab countries of northern Africa? Yes, many of the countries in the central and western regions are some of the poorest in Africa, so education, health systems and health care are deficient (by world standards), so it’s accepted that disease would be a constant. Right?

    However, what remains ignored is that those same areas in Africa (the poorest and “darkest”) are usually ‘test-beds’ for all manner of chemicals & bio-agents. We know that the Russian corona virus vaccine was first tested in southern Africa. So how easy is it for the developed nations (Russia, USA & EU) to test any substances – good or bad – under the guise of vaccine and inoculation programs in darkest Africa.

    Bioweapons are the new international weapons of choice after the nuclear age.

    Who the hell knows for sure that AIDS and other viruses were not man-made bioweapons, first tested (and appearing) in Africa (& Haiti – “darkest Africa of the Caribbean) or that coronavirus19 was NOT manufactured in China? Who knows the origin of monkey pox – acknowledged for the past 50 + years but no definite source or cause? Who knows why “new” (previously unknown) viruses just keep “popping-up” every few years?

    Call me a conspiracist but any country which can have its own president assassinated (USA 1963) or dissenters killed, even on foreign soil (present day Russia) can do any kind of experiments in the world’s poorest areas and blame the results as “natural” occurrences.

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    • Anonymous says:

      How’s your buddy TRump doing

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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh god. Get real. It’s from animals originating in Africa.

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      • Anonymous says:

        23 @ 7:01 pm – Why only animals from certain parts of Africa? Why not “exotic” animals from say, South America, or Australia?

        Parts of Africa has been the test bed for “developed” countries for decades! Who can say they have NEVER tested bioweapons there? Can you?

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  9. Unhappy Caymanian says:

    Soon come.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Do not allow anyone from Africa to come to Cayman

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