As the cases of Monkeypox increase in the United States, and with Antigua and Barbuda getting set to host its Carnival celebrations, Member-States of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) are being asked to enhance their surveillance and investigation for the virus.
CARPHA is also informing members that, if they have suspected cases, they should contact the agency for information on sending suspect samples.
In addition, Port Health officials are advised to be on the alert for possible cases entering the country, and to develop and disseminate public-education materials on Monkeypox.
Symptoms of Monkeypox include exhaustion, fever, headache, backache, muscle ache, chills, and swollen lymph nodes.
Close physical contact – such as touching, face-to-face communication, and sexual relations – with someone who is showing symptoms can result in infection, CARPHA warns.
Therefore, just as with COVID-19, persons should protect themselves by practicing good hand hygiene and clean any objects and surfaces that have been touched regularly.
Persons who think they might have symptoms, or have been in close contact with someone with the virus, should contact a physician for advice and medical care.
Should Monkeypox be identified in Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of the region, CARPHA says it will test samples from suspected cases, monitor the spread, and provide assistance to its Member States.
Meanwhile, with the anticipation of heightened travel over the summer period and to further reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Antigua and Barbuda is requiring unvaccinated visitors to present a negative PCR test result upon entry.
The United States and the United Kingdom have both dropped that entry requirement.