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Aug 9, 2022

Monkeypox spreads rapidly across the U.S., but Belize Still Negative

The Monkeypox virus has now spread to eighty-eight countries worldwide, and in the United States alone, which is Belize’s number one tourism customer, there are close to nine thousand cases of the virus spread across forty-nine states. That’s according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control. The virus has increased in the U.S. from over five thousand to almost nine thousand in just a matter of days. Last week, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Tourism, Nicole Solano told News Five that there wasn’t yet a grave concern within the Ministry because tourism arrivals have been higher than expected and that all indications were that travelers will continue with their travel plans. However, tourism officials remain vigilant and guided by the advice of the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Today, we turned to the Director of Public Health and Wellness in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Doctor Melissa Musa, to find out how concerned we should be, considering how the figures have ballooned in just a few days.

 

Melissa Musa

Dr. Melissa Musa, Dir., Public Health & Wellness, Min. of Health & Wellness

“With Monkeypox, with close contact it can also be spread through bedding, pillows, sheets – things like that that somebody who’s infected sleeps on and you’re most contagious when you have the spots. And when you start to get the scabs and the scabs fall off, wherever the scabs are, if you touch that surface you can also become contaminated. We had started our preparation from a few weeks ago where we started in early June. We did what we call sensitization with our health team on the ground. We did local guidelines for the country of Belize and included to that, as I had mentioned to the media before, we are also able to do laboratory confirmation of Monkeypox. It’s within twenty-four hours, there’s no rapid test that’s available so it’s back to the P.C.R. that we used to do at the beginning when we first heard about COVID and learnt about COVID. So we are building capacity within our Ministry to ensure that we can quickly detect, identify, confirm by lab diagnosis, and isolate these cases. So containment is key at this point for many countries. We don’t have any suspected cases at this point. We have received a number of calls from healthcare providers and we have surveillance focal points in each region and even if its private sector, they would contact somebody from that region and we interview cases, we fill out the forms and we do the testing and we have remained negative so far.”


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