Bahamas now available to test for Monkeypox

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Minister of Health & Wellness the Honourable Dr. Michael R. Darville today announced that The Bahamas now has the capacity to test for Monkeypox at the National Reference Laboratory. While speaking at the weekly Press Briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Minister Darville said it marked a significant step in the Ministry’s plan to mitigate the importation and spread of Monkeypox in the country.

“We have been working seminars with tourism in particular in the hotels, and next week we will be engaging with persons working in
immigration and customs,” he said.

The Health Minister also disclosed that his Ministry is working with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to procure vaccines for Monkeypox adding, “It is important to note that the vaccine for Monkeypox will not be like the vaccines for COVID, they will only be administered to those at high risk.” He said that while the homosexual or MSM population is cited by the World Health Organization (WHO) as high risk, the public health issues associated with individuals who come into contact with persons who may have been exposed or who are high risk, requires that “health is on high alert”. Other high risk groups include frontline health workers, and close contacts of those who are infected.

Symptoms of Monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, and swollen lymph nodes, followed or accompanied by a rash which can last for two to three weeks. The rash can be found on the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, eyes, mouth, throat, groin, and genital and/or anal regions of the body. Lesions can range from one to several thousand and begin as flat surfaces then fill with liquid before they crust over, dry up and fall off, with a fresh layer of skin forming underneath. Symptoms typically last two to three weeks and usually go away on their own or with supportive care, such as medication for pain or fever.

People remain infectious until all of the lesions have crusted over, the scabs fallen off and a new layer of skin has formed underneath. Persons who exhibit symptoms of Monkeypox or who have been in contact with someone who has Monkeypox should call or seek medical attention.