Three children who reported to Queen Beatrix Medical Centre in St. Eustatius with fever and skin rashes have been asked to remain in isolation while St. Eustatius Health Care Foundation (SEHCF) carries out tests in a bid to rule out chickenpox and monkeypox. The three have been swabbed and the samples have been sent to the Netherlands for testing. The results are expected in one to two weeks.
Some of the monkeypox symptoms — particularly fever and rash — are similar to those of chickenpox and hand, foot and mouth disease, making it important to carry out the tests before a determination is made as to the cause of the symptoms, said Dr. Sharda Baboe-Kalpoe of the Public Health Department and the SEHCE “Although the symptoms of the children have not been confirmed, we are kindly asking the general public to stay vigilant,” said Baboe-Kalpoe, who appealed to Statians “not to panic.”
With the number of cases continuing to grow in countries that have not historically reported monkeypox, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared it a public health emergency of international concern.
As of Tuesday, August 2, there were 25,391 cases in 83 countries — 25,047 in 76 countries that have not historically reported the virus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the Caribbean, cases of the monkeypox virus have been reported in Puerto Rico (13), the Dominican Republic (three) and Jamaica (two), while The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Martinique, Venezuela and French St. Martin have each had one case.
Shanna Mercera-Gibbs, prevention worker at the Public Health Prevention Clinic, is advising anyone displaying symptoms to isolate and to contact the clinic at tel. 318-2891 or SEHCF at tel. 318-2211.
Monkeypox is a reportable infectious disease category A, which means it is considered to be of great public health importance. The SEHCF is obligated to inform the Public Health Department of any cases immediately.
The Public Health Department in Saba said it continues to closely liaise with National Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM in the Netherlands, and with Saba Cares and Saba Wellness pharmacy in remaining vigilant for monkeypox in Saba.
“Currently, we do not have vaccinations available on the island. Still, the Public Health Department is in discussion with RIVM regarding the availability of vaccination which can be offered to persons at high risk of contracting monkeypox or persons who have had close contact with a confirmed monkey-pox case,” the public entity Saba said in a statement in the social media.
Persons who develop symptoms similar to those of monkeypox, are urged to call Saba Cares at tel. 4163288 for further guidance. The Public Health Department said it would continue to monitor the situation and update accordingly.
The Daily Herald.