The Infectious Disease Unit is prepared to manage any cases of monkeypox detected in Barbados.
That assurance has come from Infectious Disease Control Specialist Dr Corey Forde who said the country’s preparations and systems for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic have put it in a good position to deal with monkeypox which has surfaced in at least a dozen countries.
He said a single case of the infection, which is caused by a virus in the same family as smallpox, would not lead to an explosion in cases locally.
“You have had no more than 100 cases in a previous outbreak. I don’t know how this one is different and the guys are certainly looking into that at this point. The beautiful thing is when you have a country that already has an Infectious Disease Unit already set up, there will always be a plan A, plan B, plan C, plan D, plan E, plan F,” Dr Forde said.
“If cases had to expand, there would just be a matter of placing our clients within one area together. . . in a particular area outside of the normal hospital, which we have brilliant experience with now, with COVID 19.”
He was speaking Friday on VOB’s Down to Brass Tacks programme about monkeypox which was first identified in the 1950s and can be transmitted from animals to humans and humans to humans.
Symptoms are similar to but milder than smallpox, and include headache, skin rash, fever, body aches, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion.
Dr Forde disclosed that he recently engaged his team in discussions that provisions must be made for any concurrent cases of monkeypox and COVID-19.
“So, there is a general system in place. We have already started retraining our staff for this, although we know that it is going to fall in the same genre much like COVID-19. So I am quite comfortable to tell the country that we are in a preparedness mode for this and, certainly, if we have one or two cases then we will be adequately prepared for that and our staff certainly are trained as they were for COVID to respond to something of this nature,” he said.
The specialist insisted that Barbados must always be prepared for an outbreak of any infectious disease.
He said while many are focused on monkeypox, there is an ongoing Ebola outbreak in other parts of the world.
Meantime, with thousands of Barbadians expected to attend Agrofest this weekend, Dr Forde issued the reminder that COVID-19 still exists and remains a concern.
He encouraged people to comply with the protocols in order to contain the spread of the virus.
“The things you are going to do for COVID are the same things you are going to do for monkeypox. I think people just have to use wisdom and common sense and observe the practices which they already know they have been doing before to help them stop transmission of this disease,” Dr Forde said. (AH)