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Gibraltar Government prepares for Monkeypox, as UK cases rise

The Strategic Coordination Group met on Tuesday to discuss Gibraltar’s state of preparedness in the eventuality that a case of Monkeypox is confirmed in Gibraltar.

On Tuesday, some 179 cases of monkeypox had been confirmed in the UK and that number is expected to rise.

Cases have also been detected in Spain, including in the province of Cadiz, though not in the Campo.

Monkeypox is related to smallpox and cases are usually found in West and Central Africa, with the virus not often spreading elsewhere.

That is why outbreaks reported in more than a dozen countries, including the UK, Portugal, Spain and the United States, have caused alarm among public health experts.

The disease, which was first discovered in monkeys, is usually mild but can cause severe illness in some cases.

The Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Carter, said Monkeypox is a rare disease that commonly causes fever (over 37.9 degrees) and swollen glands, followed by a skin rash with blisters and scabs.

“The illness is usually mild and most people recover in three to four weeks,” a statement from No.6 Convent Place read.

“However for a minority of people the illness is more severe so it is important that anyone with symptoms calls 111 (or 200 72266 from a phone outside Gibraltar).”

“People should look out for symptoms of a fever, swollen glands and a skin rash with blisters and scabs.”

“The virus is transmitted from person to person by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials (bedding).”

The meeting was convened and chaired by the Minister for Civil Contingencies, Samantha Sacramento, No.6 Convent Place.

The Minister for Public Health, Dr John Cortes, also attended the meeting alongside the Director for Public Health (locum) and the Medical Director.

“The Ministers were briefed on the GHA’s established procedures and protocols, which have been developed over a number of weeks and are ready for implementation,” the statement said.

“The GHA is currently undertaking enhanced surveillance, having raised awareness with its frontline doctors, and having tested its systems for receiving and caring for cases.”

“The GHA is in a good state of preparedness and continues to monitor the situation on a daily basis.”

The GHA takes this opportunity to remind the public of the importance of good hygiene practices, including hand washing, that prevent transmission of many viruses and illnesses, the Government spokesman added.

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