Health ministry clears 13 monkey-pox suspected cases

Fiji remains free of monkeypox cases as the Ministry of Health continues its screening and monitoring of visitors from countries where community transmission of monkeypox has been reported.

Between 20 May and 25 July, the ministry followed up on 3,382 international arrivals, 13 of whom showed monkeypox-like symptoms.

“To date, all cases under investigation have been cleared for monkeypox. Some tested positive for viruses that cause hand foot and mouth disease or chicken pox, which are diseases that also cause a rash like monkeypox,” Permanent Secretary of Health Dr James Fong said.

In the meantime, the ministry is developing activity plans to engage key community-based groups, and civil society networks to increase the provision of reliable information about monkeypox to populations that may be at increased risk of infection.

It has also published several public advisories to help arm the public 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 health facilities. The public advisories have covered symptoms to enable the public to quickly seek medical care while preventing transmission to others.

The ministry is currently awaiting testing supplies and expects to soon begin testing for monkeypox at Fiji CDC.

“Our ongoing efforts to develop genomic sequencing capability at Fiji CDC will also provide us with greater capacity to deal with infection threats now and in the future.”

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