DEAD monkeys in South Trinidad had the Yellow Fever virus in their blood.
Although there is no human case of Yellow Fever in Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry of Health is asking people to get vaccinated for this virus if they have not yet received this jab.
But it stressed, “The population is asked to note that there has been no human case of Yellow Fever recorded in T&T since 1979 and that there is no outbreak of Yellow Fever at this time.”
In a release on Tuesday, the health ministry stated that there was a recent increase in the number of deaths within the monkey population in South Trinidad.
It stated, “Laboratory testing by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) subsequently confirmed the presence of the Yellow Fever virus in samples obtained from the bodies of dead monkeys from this area.”
Routine public health surveillance activities are usually conducted by the Veterinary Public Health Division and the Insect Vector Control Division of the Ministry of Health, to monitor the monkey population, the release stated.
It noted that the Yellow Fever virus was transmitted to people mainly through the bite of an infected mosquito of the Aedes or Haemagogus species.
The ministry stated, “Mosquitoes get the virus by feeding on infected primates (e.g. humans, monkeys) and then can spread the virus to other primates (human or non-human).
“Through the Ministry’s Expanded Programme on Immunization, the majority of the population would already have been vaccinated against Yellow Fever.
“Nevertheless, persons are advised to review the Yellow Fever (YFV) section on their immunization card to ensure that they have been vaccinated.
“Anyone who has not been vaccinated against Yellow Fever should visit their nearest public health centre to do so as soon as possible.”
The ministry also asked that children were kept current with their vaccination schedules. Children should receive their Yellow Fever vaccine when they are one year old, the release stated.
The ministry noted that a single primary dose of the yellow fever vaccine provides life-long protection.
The following groups of persons are especially at risk:
- Veterinary personnel;
- Laboratory workers who routinely handle wild type Yellow Fever Virus;
- Agricultural personnel who frequent forested areas;
- Forest workers;
- Adventure seekers (e.g. hikers and campers)
- Defence Force personnel;
- Persons residing in or near forested areas;
- Health workers that frequent forested areas; and
- Persons who frequent forested areas.
Anyone who develops the following symptoms should visit the nearest health facility or health care provider as soon as possible:
- Jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin or eyes);
- Muscle pain; and
Severe symptoms include:
- Abdominal pains;
- Bleeding of gums; and
Questions on this matter can be directed to the Insect Vector Control Division by calling (868)-612-4823, the ministry stated.