Health Ministry: Monkeypox No Longer A Public Health Emergency of International Concern
The Ministry of Health is advising the general public that Monkeypox, also known as Mpox, is no longer considered a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The advisory was issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) after the fifth meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) Emergency Committee, held on Wednesday (10th May 2023), regarding the multi-country outbreak of Mpox.
In a Media Release yesterday (Thursday 11th May 2023), the Ministry said the Committee noted the sustained decline in reported cases globally and thus WHO concurred with the advice that the event no longer constitutes a PHEIC. The Committee also recognized a 90% decline in reported cases within the last three (3) months. However, they noted that the virus continues to be transmitted within certain communities.
While there were no confirmed cases of this virus in Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry said it will “remain vigilant” through its surveillance programmes directed against Monkeypox and all other infectious diseases to safeguard the health of the public.
The Ministry advises it will continue to keep the public updated as necessary.
Trinidad and Tobago received an additional 1,400 doses of the World Health Organization (WHO) approved ‘Mpox’ vaccines on Thursday (15th December 2022). The Ministry of Health said in a Media Release that this completes the receipt of 2,800 doses of the two-dose ‘Mpox’ vaccines and would allow the vaccination of 1,400 persons, as per the WHO interim guidelines.
The first batch of 1,400 doses of ‘Mpox’ vaccines arrived in the country on Tuesday (13th December 2022).
In late November 2022, the WHO introduced the preferred terminology ‘Mpox’ as a synonym for Monkeypox.
In keeping with the WHO interim guidelines dated 16th November 2022, which can be found at https://www.who.int/publications-detail-redirect/WHO-MPX-Immunization, individuals who meet the criteria, as listed below, would be eligible:
The County Medical Officers of Health (CMOHs) will actively reach out to persons who are deemed contacts, to offer vaccinations to these individuals as a mass vaccination campaign would not be utilized at this time.
The Ministry concluded its Media Release by saying, “The Government of the Republic Trinidad and Tobago remains committed to safeguarding the health of the population and will continue to provide safe and effective WHO-approved vaccines to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”
Health Ministry Receives ‘Mpox’ (Monkeypox) Vaccines For Use In Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago received 1,400 doses of the World Health Organization (WHO) approved ‘Mpox’ vaccines on Tuesday (13th December 2022). The Ministry of Health said in a Media Release on Wednesday that this is the first of two (2) shipments via the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) vaccine acquisition platform.
The second shipment of 1,400 doses is scheduled to arrive in the country in the near future. The Ministry said that this would amount to a total of 2,800 doses of the two-dose ‘Mpox’ vaccines available locally. It should be noted that in late November 2022, the WHO introduced the preferred terminology ‘Mpox’ as a synonym for Monkeypox.
The Ministry said it will adopt the WHO interim guidelines, dated 16th November 2022, which can be found at https://www.who.int/publications-detail-redirect/WHO-MPX-Immunization — as it relates to use of these vaccines. The National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), upon review of these interim guidelines, has recommended that these vaccines will be administered as follows:
As such, the Ministry notes that only individuals who meet the above criteria would be eligible and therefore a mass vaccination campaign would not be utilized at this time.
Further, the Ministry advises that the County Medical Officers of Health (CMOHs) will actively reach out to persons who are deemed contacts, to offer vaccinations to these individuals.
The Ministry concluded its Media Release by saying, “The Government of the Republic Trinidad and Tobago remains committed to safeguarding the health of the population and will continue to provide safe and effective WHO approved vaccines to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”
Guyana announced its first case of the Monkeypox virus today (Monday 22nd August 2022). The patient is a 57-year-old man who tested positive for the virus over the weekend and is currently isolated at the Infectious Diseases Hospital at Liliendaal, Georgetown. According to News Room Guyana, the man is a public transportation driver. He is also a resident of Region Four (Demerara- Mahaica).
Guyana’s Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, said on Monday that local authorities suspected that the man was infected over the weekend. He was tested locally as Guyana has developed the capacity to test for the Monkeypox virus. The man is said to have no recent travel history outside of Guyana and his ailment was at an advanced stage when he became hospitalized. He is expected to recover in fourteen (14) days.
According to Dr. Anthony, “That patient has since been isolated and is stable.” He advised the public against panicking at the news and noted that Monkeypox is spread through close contact. The Health Minister is confident that Guyana’s Health Ministry has efficient systems in place now to deal with Monkeypox.
“We had been looking at what had been happening in the world and (adopting) those measures and guidelines so that when recording our case, we can take those measures and guidelines and run with them,” Dr. Anthony said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Monkeypox is a virus transmitted to humans from animals with symptoms similar to those experienced by Smallpox patients.
Below is a list of confirmed Monkeypox cases in the Caribbean:
Trinidad and Tobago has not recorded any cases to date.
[Source: News Room Guyana]
The United States declared Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency on Thursday (4th August 2022), with cases on the rise across the country. The announcement came during a briefing with the Department of Health and Human Services. The Biden administration has been criticized at times for its handling of the outbreak, and some have called on the Government to declare a national emergency without delay.
Since the first U.S. Monkeypox case was identified in mid-May, more than 6,600 probable or confirmed cases have been detected there. Cases have been identified in every State except Montana and Wyoming. Close contact with an infected individual is required for the spread of the Monkeypox virus, experts say.
The declaration follows the World Health Organization (WHO) announcement last month that Monkeypox is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. WHO defines a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, or PHEIC, as ”an extraordinary event” that constitutes a “public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease” and ”to potentially require a co-ordinated international response.”
Some Cities and States, including New York City, San Francisco, California, Illinois and New York, have already declared Monkeypox an emergency, allowing them to free up funding and resources for their responses to the outbreak.
There have been no cases reported in Trinidad and Tobago so far.
The Ministry of Health declared the Monkeypox virus a dangerous infectious disease on 23rd June 2022, in accordance with Section 103 of the Public Health Ordinance, Chap. 12 No. 4. Based on the World Health Organization's (WHO's) guidelines, Trinidad and Tobago is among Group 1 countries, which refers to States or parties with no history of Monkeypox in the human population or not having detected a case of Monkeypox for over twenty-one (21) days.
In a Media Release on Thursday (28th July 2022), the Ministry said Trinidad and Tobago has placed an indicative order with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to secure 2,000 Monkeypox vaccines. The Ministry added, “This is part of the mitigation and preparation efforts in anticipation of the arrival of the Monkeypox virus to our shores. At this time, there is no confirmed date of arrival of these vaccines from PAHO. However, the public will be advised as soon as there is more information regarding the arrival of these vaccines into the country.”
According to Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roshan Parasram, if you test positive for the Monkeypox virus, the recommended quarantine period (at home) is twenty-one (21) days.
Persons are reminded that the main symptoms of Monkeypox are: fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes. The virus is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal or contaminated material such as bedding. The virus may also be transferred from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids and respiratory droplets.
Additionally, if you or anyone close to you have had a recent travel history from any country where cases have been detected and develop symptoms, as described above, please visit your nearest healthcare provider. For a full list of these countries, please visit the WHO website at www.who.int/emergencies/emergency-events/item/monkeypox.
The Ministry said it will continue to keep the public abreast of any new developments regarding this emerging public health threat via its website at health.gov.tt and on its social media channels.
Speaking at the Ministry of Health’s virtual Press Conference yesterday (Wednesday 27th July 2022), Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roshan Parasram confirmed that anyone testing positive for the Monkeypox virus will have to quarantine for twenty-one (21) days.
Dr. Parasram said based on the known characteristics of the virus, there is an incubation period of five (5) to twenty-one (21) days. Therefore, the recommended quarantine period is approximately twenty-one (21) days. He noted the Ministry’s protocol for close contact of a confirmed Monkeypox case is self-isolation at home, which is a practice used worldwide. County Medical Officers of Health (CMOH) will, however, have discretion in determining the isolation requirements.
The Ministry will isolate any cases picked up at a Port of entry at its facilities, to prevent them from spreading the disease to the population.
As for the treatment of Monkeypox, Dr. Parasram said Doctors will tend to the various symptoms exhibited by infected patients. He noted that the Ministry is continuing bilateral talks to acquire an antiviral drug for the treatment of the virus, which is becoming available.
The CMO said, “In terms of the treatment, generally speaking, it is symptomatic relief, so we use medication to control the fever. For example, making sure persons are well hydrated. If you reach the stage of Encephalitis, of course, supportive care in Hospital is required, for which we have the capacity at Caura, which is the designated facility at this point.”
Also speaking at yesterday’s Press Conference, Minister of Health, Terrence Deyalsingh, confirmed the Ministry has already designated the Caura Hospital to treat Monkeypox patients. He states that there will be no mixing of COVID-19 and Monkeypox patients at any facility. He said he had spoken to Tobago House of Assembly Secretary of the Division of Health, Wellness and Social Protection, Dr. Faith B. Yisrael, to dedicate a facility suitable to quarantine Monkeypox patients if Health Officials detect a case on the island.
Minister Deyalsingh said, at this time, there is no consideration of travel restrictions.
A meeting was convened by the Ministry on 30th May 2022 with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), to discuss T&T’s response to the global spread of Monkeypox.
Minister Deyalsingh said the Ministry saw Monkeypox as a threat in which the country needed to prepare for and they did not want to wait until finding a suspected or confirmed case before launching a response. Preparations were started by the Ministry since 20th May 2022, by seeking Cabinet approval to have Monkeypox listed as a dangerous infectious disease, which allows the Government to use the Quarantine Act and Public Health Regulations to implement measures to protect the public.
The Health Minister said the Ministry simultaneously started building capacity for testing and training on epidemiological surveillance and raising awareness.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Monkeypox a global health emergency on 23rd July 2022, recommending that countries strengthen a co-ordinated international response to slow transmission and protect vulnerable groups.
Based on WHO recommendations, Minister Deyalsingh explained that countries fell into various groups. T&T falls into Group 1: countries with no history of Monkeypox in the human population or which did not detect a case for over twenty-one (21) days. He said Group 1 members have nine (9) action items to implement and confirmed the Ministry has wisely implemented all nine (9) action items, establishing health and multi-sectoral mechanisms, no stigmatisation and discrimination policies, and intensified epidemiological disease surveillance and detection capabilities.
“We are as in a good place as any based on WHO’s Group 1 recommendations. Then you move on to Group 2. We are not in Group 2 as yet,” he noted.
Group 2 includes States or parties with recently imported cases of Monkeypox in the human population or otherwise experiencing human-to-human transmission, including in key population groups and communities at high risk of exposure.
Monkeypox testing is available at CARPHA and the Trinidad Public Health Laboratory.
[Source: T&T Guardian]
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Monkeypox is now a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on Saturday (23rd July 2022), prompting an immediate response by many countries around the world.
There have been no cases recorded so far in Trinidad and Tobago.
Following the declaration by WHO on Saturday, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh assured that T&T is prepared to deal with the Monkeypox virus. The Minister noted there is no need for any roll-back of public health measures at this time. However, the Minister lamented on the challenges being faced by the Government in procuring Monkeypox vaccines, noting that many countries are stockpiling them beyond their needs. He said this is the same problem T&T initially faced with COVID-19 vaccines.
T&T is in Group 1 for Monkeypox, which means that this country does not have a history of the virus, had no cases for twenty-one (21) days, and must comply with nine (9) action items, of which Minister Deyalsingh said the majority have already been fully met. This includes the training of healthcare workers, assigning facilities and public education.
[Source: TTT Live Online]
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday (23rd July 2022) declared the international Monkeypox outbreak a global emergency — a decision that underscores concerns about rapidly spreading infections. Monkeypox has spread across the world at an unprecedented rate in the last two (2) months.
The decision to label the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), the highest level of alert the WHO can issue, is expected to marshal new funding and to pressure Governments into action. More than 16,500 cases have been reported in seventy-five (75) countries. In its announcement on Saturday, WHO representatives said it was encouraging countries with large vaccine stockpiles to share and donate vaccines to other countries who do not currently have access to vaccines.
“In short, we have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly through new modes of transmission about which we understand too little,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters Saturday.
The emergency declaration came after a second meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, which declined to take the step a month ago.
The committee remained divided on whether the outbreak constituted an emergency, Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, but he took the unusual step of declaring an emergency anyway.
Some experts and public health advocates criticized the decision not to issue the highest alert earlier, saying a declaration would have improved global co-ordination to contain the virus. The WHO has faced criticism for being both too slow and too fast to declare public health emergencies in the past, and for favoring political over technical criteria in making these assessments. Prior to the emergency declaration, global health experts expressed hope that this time, WHO would get their timing just right.
Spain leads the world in confirmed cases with more than 3,100 infections, according to tracking by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The United States has the second-highest tally at nearly 2,900, with Germany and the United Kingdom each reporting more than 2,200 infections.
Health authorities on Friday (22nd July 2022) reported the first two (2) U.S. cases of Monkeypox in children.
Vaccines do exist to prevent the virus, and while many countries have a quantity of these vaccines on hand as part of their national stockpiles, demand in the U.S. has greatly outpaced supply, and the global supply of vaccines is relatively small.
Countries have been scrambling to order more vaccines, and while the producer of the most popular Monkeypox vaccine has not disclosed which countries have put down orders, the nations that have announced vaccine purchases have generally been higher-income ones, like Germany, Britain, and Canada.
This is a developing story - refresh this page for updates.
[Source: The Washington Post]
U.S. Confirms First TWO (2) Cases of Monkeypox In CHILDREN — Kids Face Greater Danger
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Friday (22nd July 2022) that the first two (2) cases of Monkeypox in children have been confirmed in the United States. The CDC said in a statement that both cases are ”likely the result of household transmission” and “had no contact with each other.” One is a toddler who lives in California and the other is not a resident of the U.S.
The statement added, ”CDC and public health authorities are still investigating how the children became infected. While both children have Monkeypox symptoms, they are in good health.” Both children are being treated with an antiviral drug called ‘Tecovirimat.’
Health Officials are, however, warning that Monkeypox may pose greater dangers to children. Children, especially those under eight (8) years old, are among those the CDC warns are at “especially increased risk” for severe Monkeypox disease.
As of Thursday (21st July 2022), the CDC had tallied a total of 2,593 cases of Monkeypox in the U.S. across forty-four (44) States, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. While the virus has led to many adult patients enduring pain and sometimes severe complications, many of the cases have so far resolved after several weeks without intensive treatment or hospitalization.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has so far only formally approved the Jynneos Monkeypox vaccine for use in adults. However, Federal Health Officials have said the Biden administration has worked out arrangements to be able to offer doses for children in the current outbreak.
This is a developing story - refresh this page for updates.
[Source: CBS News]
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