01 June 2022
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, has signed an Order to make monkeypox a notifiable disease in Jersey. The Order was signed on 31 May and will come into effect today.
The Order will add monkeypox to the list of infectious diseases under the Public Health Act (1934) requiring medical professionals to notify the Medical Officer of Health should a case be detected.
The decision to add Monkeypox to the list of notifiable diseases follows an outbreak of the virus in other countries and is in line with the steps taken by comparable jurisdictions.
Despite cases rising in the UK, the risk of catching monkeypox in the UK and in Jersey remains low, and Islanders are being reassured that there are currently no confirmed cases in Jersey or in the rest of the Channel Islands.
The Strategic Coordination Group (SCG) and a new Scientific Technical Advisory Cell (STAC) have both convened to ensure operational and scientific readiness in order to respond appropriately should cases occur on Island.
Director of Public Health, Professor Peter Bradley, said: "This is a new STAC which has been convened to discuss the technical response to this emerging issue. Work is being undertaken across the crown dependencies so we are ready should cases emerge. SCG has met to ensure good preparedness.
"Public health officers and colleagues across Government have been working to put plans in place should an outbreak occur in Jersey."
A webpage on gov.je (gov.je/monkeypox) has been set up for Islanders to keep up to date with the latest guidance and advice for Jersey.
Islanders are reminded that monkeypox is a viral infection usually associated with travel to West Africa, however it can spread by very close contact with someone who has monkeypox. The virus normally causes mild infection and most people recover within a few weeks without specific treatment.
Islanders should be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, and to contact their GP or the sexual health service – initially by phone – if they have concerns. All calls or discussions will be treated sensitively and in confidence.
In signing the Order, the Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: "I'd like reassure Islanders that this is a precautionary measure and we do not have any confirmed cases on Island.
"It is also reassuring that officers across Government are working to ensure that plans are in place should we need to respond."
Professor Bradley, said: "I'd like to reassure Islanders that monekypox is a rare infectious disease, and despite cases increasing in the UK, the risk of catching it in the UK or in Jersey remains low.
"Monkeypox spreads by very close contact with someone with monkeypox or contact with clothing or linens used by a person who has monkeypox. Most people recover within a few weeks, however, severe illness can occur in some individuals.
"Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body including the genitals.
"Islanders to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia. Any Islander who is concerned about a newly developed unusual rashes or lesions should contact their GP or the GUM (sexual health) clinic. Please call ahead of attending an appointment. All calls will be treated with the strictest confidence."