Jamaica now able to test for Monkeypox virus
From left: Dr Valeska Stempliuk, advisor, health surveillance, disease prevention and control, PAHO/WHO Office for Jamaica, Bermuda & The Cayman Islands; Dr Michelle Hamilton, director of the National Public Health Laboratory; and Dr Lionel Gresh, virologist at PAHO headquarters in Washington, DC, United States, look on as Cindy Thomas, senior medical technologist at the National Public Health Laboratory, conducts a diagnostic test on the Monkeypox virus.

JAMAICA is now able to conduct testing for the Monkeypox virus, the health ministry said in a release Friday.

This follows a recent regional training in laboratory detection and diagnosis of the viral condition arranged by the National Public Health Lab, in collaboration with the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO).

Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacqueline Bisasor-McKenzie said the workshop was part of the public health system’s preparedness and response activities in the case of an outbreak of the virus.

“This hands-on training equips our public health team to ensure the timely detection of any suspected cases,” Dr Bisasor-McKenzie said.

The workshop on the Laboratory Detection and Diagnosis of Monkeypox Virus involved 10 participants from four Caribbean countries – Jamaica, The Bahamas, Guyana and Suriname.

“Human Monkeypox virus, if found in Jamaica, would be considered an exotic or unusual communicable disease and should therefore be reported as a Class 1 notifiable disease. Health-care workers must report cases immediately on suspicion to the respective Parish Health Department and the National Surveillance Unit,” the CMO added.

Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease spread primarily through animals. While person-to-person spread is uncommon, it may occur through direct contact with an infected individual. Infection typically results in symptoms including fever, back pain and muscle pain, the formation of lesions and skin rashes.

There are, at this time, no confirmed cases of the Monkeypox virus in Jamaica.

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