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Monkeypox designated a notifiable disease in the Bailiwick

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Wednesday 08 June 2022

Monkeypox has been listed as a notifiable disease, meaning any case confirmed in the Bailiwick must be legally notified to the Medical Officer of Health.

While no cases have been identified in the Bailiwick to date, it is likely that cases will be seen locally in the foreseeable future. Community transmission is occurring in the UK, which also laid legislation yesterday to make monkeypox a notifiable infectious disease from today (8th June 2022). 

Dr Nicola Brink, Medical Officer of Health, said:

'Listing monkeypox as a notifiable disease, and infection with the monkeypox virus as a notifiable infection, means that healthcare professionals must notify the Medical Officer of Health if they suspect a patient has monkeypox or the monkeypox virus is identified in a clinical sample. This will help Public Health manage any local cases, should they occur, as well as tracing contacts. The prompt and effective management of cases and contacts will enable us to interrupt chains of transmission and offer vaccination, where indicated.

'Monkeypox is a viral infection that, until recently, has usually been associated with travel to West Africa. However, since early May 2022 over 1,000 cases of cases of monkeypox have been reported in multiple countries that are not endemic for monkeypox virus, including in the UK, Spain, Portugal and North America. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing, however reported cases thus far have no established travel links to an endemic area. This is consistent with community transmission in multiple non-endemic countries in recent weeks, so we need to ensure we're prepared and making the disease notifiable is part of that.'

Monkeypox facts

The incubation period for monkeypox is between 5 and 21 days. The incubation period is the duration/time between contact with the infected person and the time that the first symptoms appear.

Monkeypox infection is usually a self-limiting illness and most people recover within several weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.

The illness begins with:

Within 1 to 5 days after the appearance of fever, a rash develops, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab which later falls off.

Monkeypox: background information - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Further information can also be obtained from the World Health Organization factsheet: Monkeypox (who.int)

If a person suspects they may have monkeypox or is concerned then they should contact the Orchard Centre on 01481 227707 (Monday - Friday) or their GP by telephone. It is important to phone first before attending a healthcare setting to ensure the right level of care is provided. If a person is very unwell then they should contact the Emergency Department at the PEH for further advice.

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