Ministry of Health & Wellness’ Update On Monkeypox

On July 11, 2023, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago reported its first case of Monkeypox, followed by a report of the second case, one day later, on July 12.  The first case was reported to be a middle-aged man with a history of recent travel, while the second case was reported as a young adult male.  No information was provided on his travel history.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness advises the public that since the first case of Monkeypox was announced on July 12, 2022, in Barbados, there have been no confirmed or suspected cases on the island.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue to maintain a state of vigilance in response to the newly confirmed cases which have occurred in the neighbouring twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Monkeypox is a disease of global health importance, which primarily occurs near the tropical rain forests of Central and West Africa, with the primary hosts being rodents and non-human primates, such as monkeys.  However, last year’s outbreak was identified in non-endemic areas and was spread from human to human with most of the cases seen in Europe.

Humans can contract the virus by direct contact with an infectious rash, scab, or body fluids of an infected person or animal.  Human-to-human transmission can occur as a result of prolonged face-to-face, intimate, physical contact, or touching items that have previously been handled by an infected individual.  Development of symptoms can occur up to 21 days after contact with a case.

The virus classically begins with flu-like symptoms (fever and body aches), and swelling of the lymph nodes and progression to a widespread rash on the face and or other parts of the body.  The red bumps eventually turn into pus-filled blisters that crust over.  This illness can last for approximately two to four weeks.

There are no specific treatments for the Monkeypox virus, however, medications can be used to manage the symptoms.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue its active surveillance and the sensitisation of port health personnel on the management of the Monkeypox virus.  The Ministry will also keep the public informed of any public health developments of concern.

Ministry of Health and Wellness