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Bermuda confirms first case of monkeypox

A World Health Organisation image of the monkeypox virus

Bermuda’s first confirmed case of monkeypox was revealed last night by health officials, with an unidentified patient said to be in isolation.

The Ministry of Health is investigating potential close contacts and will notify anyone who may have been exposed, a spokeswoman said.

The virus, which causes flu-like illness and a rash, has spread in a string of communities outside Africa since a cluster of infections was identified in Britain in early May

The ministry indicated in May that the island was on the alert for cases of the virus.

Jason Hayward, the acting health minister, said today: “Monkeypox is rare, not life-threatening and Bermuda is well prepared to detect the disease and take suitable public health measures to prevent its spread.

“The Ministry of Health has provided guidance for primary care providers and the Bermuda Molecular Diagnostics and Research Laboratory lab on sample handling.

“The hospital also has appropriate isolation facilities to support treatment.”

Mr Hayward added that the ministry was working with the Caribbean Public Health Agency, the Pan American Health Organisation and the UK Health Security Agency.

“Our port health officials know how to screen and recognise possible cases and take appropriate action,” he said.

“Our healthcare professionals know how to identify, immediately isolate and report cases to local and regional health authorities.”

Monkeypox may take between five and 21 days for first symptoms to appear.

Usually, the virus causes flu-like symptoms: fever, chills, rash and lesions on the face or genitals.

Most people recover within several weeks without requiring hospital treatment.

Anyone suspecting they have caught or been exposed to the virus must call their doctor or the communicable disease clinic on 278-6442.

· For further information on monkeypox, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.