While monkeypox has not been detected locally, citizens are being advised to avoid skin-to-skin contact.
The advice came from Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh as he responded to questions from reporters at the virtual health briefing on Wednesday.
He said: “Any activity or endeavour that encourages close skin-to-skin contact without clothes is where the monkeypox virus could be transmitted.”
Monkeypox was declared a global health emergency, having been detected in all six World Health Organisation (WHO) regions, including territories in the Caribbean. Jamaica and Barbados are among T&T’s neighbours who have confirmed cases.
Deyalsingh admitted that there’s no specific screening for monkeypox at the nation’s ports of entry, but noted that temperature checks/febrile testing implemented for COVID-19 screening remain in place.
As for T&T’s preparedness for monkeypox cases, the Caura Hospital has been designated as a care facility, should it become necessary. A similar facility is being identified in Tobago.
The Minister assured that there would be no mixing of COVID-19 patients with monkeypox patients.
The WHO notes that monkeypox typically presents symptoms of fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes, and these symptoms last between two and four weeks.
Clinical care involves symptomatic treatment, and in worse cases, supportive hospital care. Self isolation for close contacts of up to 21 days is recommended, depending on the severity of the case.
T&T is also in talks to secure antivirals to bolster the treatment regime.