ORANJESTAD, St. Eustatius Three children who reported to the Queen Beatrix Medical Centre in Statia with fever and skin rashes have been asked to remain in isolation while the St. Eustatius Health Care Foundation carries out tests in a bid to rule out chickenpox and monkeypox.
The three have been swabbed and the samples have been sent to the Netherlands for testing. The results are expected in one to two weeks.
Some of the monkeypox symptoms – particularly fever and rash – are similar to those of chickenpox and hand, foot and mouth disease, making it important to carry out the tests before a determination is made as to the cause of the symptoms, said Dr. Sharda Baboe-Kalpoe of the Public Health Department and the St. Eustatius Health Care Foundation.
“Although the symptoms of the children have not been confirmed, we are kindly asking the general public to stay vigilant,” added Dr. Baboe-Kalpoe, who also appealed to Statians not to panic.
With the number of cases continuing to grow in countries that have not historically reported monkeypox, the World Health Organization recently declared it a public health emergency of international concern.
As of 2 August, there were 25,391 cases in 83 countries – 25,047 in 76 countries that have not historically reported the virus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the Caribbean, cases have been reported in the Dominican Republic (3) and Jamaica (2), while the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Venezuela have each had one case.
Shanna Mercera-Gibbs, prevention worker at the Public Health Prevention Clinic, is advising anyone displaying symptoms to isolate and to contact the Public Health Prevention Clinic at 318-2891 or the St. Eustatius Health Care Foundation at 318-2211.
Monkeypox is a reportable infectious disease category A, which means it’s considered to be of great public health importance, and the St. Eustatius Health Care Foundation is obligated to inform the Public Health Department of any cases immediately.