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Aug 17, 2022

Reports of Monkeypox in Belize; Tests So Far Prove Negative

There were images and perhaps even reports circulating today, suggesting that Monkeypox is present in Belize. The reports caused concern among some people, some of who took to social media to express their worry, particularly because of the time of year. But a check-in not too long after with the Director of Public Health and Wellness, Doctor Melissa Diaz-Musa quickly debunked that report. When we caught up with Diaz-Musa today at an event, she told us there’s been no confirmed case of Monkeypox just yet, and that health officials believe that when it is detected, it will not originate from anyone coming from neighboring countries.


Melissa Diaz-Musa

Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa, Director, Public Health & Wellness

“I think to date we’ve tested three persons so far that have come back negative, and every week we’re doing our testing. I think we have four or five other persons as well that we’re currently testing. These persons do not, as I said, meet the exact criteria to say that they are suspect case but because we have enhanced our surveillance and we want to ensure that we pick up on persons that don’t immediately meet that criteria, we’re picking up cases fast, isolating quickly, and managing as quickly as possible. We can test in Belize already, so the testing turn-around time is about twenty-four hours although we give ourselves generally once a week. Depending on the case load, this can be increased because we do have re-agents and we need to ensure that if we do have truly a suspect case, it’s done outside of that scheduled testing so that we could identify the first case as soon as it’s here. As I mentioned earlier, we don’t think that a case would come through the borders. It’s more than likely that somebody would present to one of our health facilities, just because of the way that it spreads and mainly because you don’t have a rapid test or something to detect Monkeypox at P.G.I.A or at any of the border points, and it’s unlikely that somebody with a widespread rash would be traveling and it won’t be picked up by our surveillance officers.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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