Amonkeypox patient who fled a Jamaican hospital before returning to isolation reportedly said he escaped because he wanted to enjoy his holiday.
The male patient, who represented the first reported case of monkeypox in Jamaica, had absconded from the health facility where he was being kept in isolation on July 9, according to a press release from the Jamaican Ministry of Health and Wellness at the time.
The man had presented himself to health professionals on July 5 after having arrived in Jamaica from the United Kingdom around five days earlier.
Within days of his isolation period, he escaped by climbing out of a bathroom window before getting into a nearby car that was waiting.
Health minister Christopher Tufton urged members of the public to contact police if they had any knowledge of the patient’s whereabouts, stressing that monkeypox could be spread from person to person.
Later that day, the health ministry announced that the patient had been found in the Jamaican parish of Clarendon after a health worker made contact with one of his family members. The family member confirmed that the patient had made his way to their house, after which police officers came and collected him.
“The patient is now back at the health facility in isolation, under police watch,” the ministry press release read.
Jamaican news outlet The Gleaner cited an anonymous source at the May Pen hospital in Clarendon as saying that the patient didn’t want to waste his vacation in the country and was “not going to spend so much money to come here and not enjoy himself.”
The anonymous healthcare worker was cited as saying that the patient had told other patients of his plans to leave and that he had already “called his ride.” Newsweek was unable to independently verify the report.
Earlier in July Jamaica’s chief medical officer Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie issued a call for vigilance after the country’s first monkeypox case was recorded.
“For everybody who is planning to go out there and party, I should hope that they would bear this in mind that close contact is still something that is to be avoided and to use your precautions—the wearing of masks, hand sanitising, and handwashing frequently to prevent contact,” she said in a press release.
Worldwide, there were 8,238 cases of monkeypox from 57 regions, including the U.S., as of July 8 according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The viral disease is usually endemic to West and Central Africa but there has been an unprecedented spread around the world this year, concerning scientists. Vaccines have been ordered by several countries including the U.S.
Monkeypox causes symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters, according to the CDC. It can spread via direct contact with the infectious rash, prolonged face-to-face contact, touching items that contagious people have also touched and from a pregnant mother to her fetus. Animals can also spread it to humans.