The Ministry of Health and Wellness has announced that Jamaica is now able to conduct testing for the Monkeypox virus.

In a statement Friday evening, the ministry said this comes following regional training in laboratory detection and diagnosis of the viral condition.

This was arranged by the National Public Health Lab in collaboration with the Pan-American Health Organization, PAHO.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jacqueline Bisasor-McKenzie said the workshop is part of the public health system’s preparedness and response activities in case of an outbreak.

She said hands-on training equips Jamaica’s public health team to ensure the timely detection of any suspected cases.

The workshop on the Laboratory Detection and Diagnosis of Monkeypox Virus involved ten participants from four Caribbean countries– Jamaica, Bahamas, Guyana and Suriname.

Dr Bisasor-McKenzie says if the virus is found in Jamaica, it would be considered an exotic or unusual communicable disease and should therefore be reported as a Class 1 notifiable disease.

Healthcare workers, in the public and private sectors, are being encouraged to report cases immediately on suspicion to the respective Parish Health Department and the National Surveillance Unit.

Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease spread primarily through animals.