SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Monday May 23rd, the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Hon. Omar Ottley met with Collective Prevention Services (CPS) to discuss the monkeypox virus outbreak.
Monkeypox, a virus that is usually found in rodents, marsupials and monkeys, has been detected in humans in a number of countries worldwide. So far, 92 cases have been recorded across 12 countries. This number is likely to grow but it has not been detected on Sint Maarten.
Monkeypox virus is transmitted from person to person by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
Those infected with monkeypox often have the following symptoms: fever; headache; back pain; muscle soreness; weakness; swollen lymph nodes; a rash beginning on face then spreading elsewhere, followed by lesions or pustules. If individuals experience any of these symptoms, please visit your general practitioner.
Note that monkeypox disease is rarely severe, and in most cases resolves in 2-4 weeks without treatment, however those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk and could require hospitalization.
Monkeypox is different to impetigo (a skin infection caused by a bacterium that is common in the Netherlands). The name monkeypox is frequently used for impetigo on the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao and in Suriname. Please be sure to check your information sources carefully and do not spread misinformation about the disease. The best websites to follow are the World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control and National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).
CPS is monitoring the international situation closely and will communicate all relevant updates to the public in a timely manner.
Please remember to visit your general practitioner if you are feeling unwell.
“Although the virus has not reached the shores of Sint Maarten, we are taking preventative measures to assure maximum safety against this virus,” said Minister Ottley.