Health continues monkeypox screening and coms outreach

Fiji’s Ministry of Health is not letting up on its screening of persons of interest and the investigation of cases that show symptoms similar to monkeypox despite returning negative outcomes for three suspected cases.

Three people developed symptoms similar to monkeypox but later tested negative.

The ministry said its response plan includes surveillance with rapid response and containment protocols, with a key focus being to ensure that suspected or confirmed cases are not stigmatised and empower each citizen to take a proactive role in protecting the country.

To this end, the ministry has been working with communications and community engagement teams to produce public advisories to educate the populace with the knowledge to protect themselves and to help reduce the chances of spread in our community.

“Infection prevention protocols have been put together at the border and in community facilities,” Dr James Fong said in the ministry’s latest advisory.

“Protocols have been initiated to maintain oversight over travellers from selected countries to ensure early diagnosis,  treatment, and contact tracing. The public advisories have covered symptoms to enable the public to quickly recognize symptoms and seek medical care while preventing transmission to others.”

The ministry’s guidelines for early detection and response, as well as laboratory testing, have been distributed to all public and private clinicians. All doctors and Nurses in the community have also been advised to be well informed of how cases present and be vigilant in helping to ensure cases are diagnosed early.

Discussions with our reference laboratory in Melbourne are in place to ensure access to definitive tests. Our ongoing efforts to have genomic sequencing capability in the Fiji CDC will provide us with greater capacity to deal with infection threats now and in the future.

“As we escalate our community-wide infection prevention and control measures, we are responding to current threats and creating community-wide resilience to upcoming threats. Our ongoing engagement in a healthy lifestyle to mitigate NCDs is also part of the overall focus on building back better and stronger.

“The Ministry of Health and Medical Services will continue to disseminate more specific advisories over the coming weeks. Further updated knowledge about the monkeypox virus will be shared as they are known.”

Person-to-person transmission may occur through;

  • contact with clothing or linens (such as bedding or towels) used by an infected person
  • direct contact with monkeypox skin lesions or scabs
  • exposure to respiratory droplets eg coughing or sneezing

Monkeypox is usually a self-limiting illness, which means that most people recover with just supportive (symptom relief) treatment within several weeks. However, Dr Fong says severe illness can occur in some individuals.

The ministry is also in discussions with development partners regarding access to vaccines and medications used to treat monkeypox.

Photo: WHO/Nigeria Centre for Disease Control

Foodie Night 1327x198 ad(1)
Top Stories