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Jamaicans urged to be vigilant as first locally transmitted monkeypox case confirmed

Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton and Wayne Chen, Chairman of the Southern Regional Health Authority
 
The Ministry of Health has cautioned that, especially during this festive season, Jamaicans should remain vigilant by heightening adherence to infection prevention measures for COVID-19 which are effective in limiting the spread of monkeypox.
 
These include frequent handwashing and sanitisation, mask wearing and physical distancing. 
 
Additionally, Jamaicans are encouraged to practice safer sex behaviours. 
 
The advice comes after Jamaica on Friday recorded its first locally transmitted case of monkeypox and the third infection from the viral disease. 
 
The Ministry of Health says the latest case is a patient who had no recent travel history and has not been linked to the two previously announced cases. 
 
The patient is in isolation at home and remains in stable condition. 
 
The ministry says the case is being investigated and contact tracing has begun. 
 
Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton says with monkeypox now being transmitted locally, public health officials will revisit virus prevention protocols. 
 
Dr. Tufton said there will also be more vigilance in virus screening at Jamaica's ports of entry, especially with monkeypox cases rising in the United States and other major source markets for Jamaica.  
 
"We don't think it is at the stage now where the public health team should be recommending any major restrictions, except to say that we have to beef our borders to ensure that port health can manage the screening and the observance and the surveillance of the people coming in. And that's always been the case but we're going to have to be more vigilant because of this issue," he said. 
 
The spread of monkeypox may occur when a person comes into close contact with an infected individual. 
 
Symptoms of the disease are usually mild to moderate and include fever, intense headache, swelling of the lymph nodes, back pain, muscle ache, and rash on the skin.
 
Members of the public who experience these warning signs must immediately isolate and call ahead to their health centre or doctor before visiting. 
 
First patient released 
 
The Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) has said the British national, who was the first confirmed case of monkeypox in Jamaica, has been released from isolation.
 
Wayne Chen, Chairman of SRHA, said the patient was released last week. 
 
His contacts have also been cleared. 
 
The patient was diagnosed with monkeypox when he arrived in the island to attend a funeral in June.
 
Mr. Chen said the second monkeypox patient is still in isolation at May Pen Hospital while his close contacts are in home quarantine. 
 


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