ABS TELEVISION – Health Minister Sir Molwyn Joseph says there are no confirmed cases of monkeypox virus in Antigua and Barbuda.

He told ABS TV in an exclusive interview two individuals suspected of having the viral infection have since tested negative. He said the samples were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency as part of an investigation that followed World Health Organisation and Pan American Health Organisation protocols.

Sir Molwyn says he is satisfied with measures taken in preparation for any case being detected in the country.

The Health Minister has assured any confirmed cases will be reported to the public in a timely manner as part of a commitment to transparency, but after a thorough investigation.

Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic infection, meaning that it can spread from animals to humans and has also been spreading from person to person.

The World Health Organisation says the most common symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, and swollen lymph nodes.

This is followed or accompanied by the development of a rash which can last for two to three weeks. The rash can be found on the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, eyes, mouth, throat, groin, and genital and/or anal regions of the body.

WHO says those at higher risk for severe disease or complications include people who are pregnant, children and persons that are immunocompromised.