First case of monkeypox reported in SEA

June 24, 2022
First case of monkeypox reported in SEA

Singapore has reported its first imported case of monkeypox in a British flight attendant who entered the city state last week – the 42-year-old man had developed headaches, eventually testing positive for monkeypox. The man is currently warded at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

This is the first recorded case of monkeypox in South-East Asia linked to a recent global outbreak, which can be traced back to parts of central and western Africa.

The Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) disclosed that thirteen of the man’s close contacts, including his crew and airline colleagues, have been put in quarantine. Contact tracing efforts are also ongoing for the affected flights and for the duration of the man’s stay in Singapore – he largely remained in his hotel room, once visiting a massage establishment and eating at three food establishments.

Singapore’s MOH said the risk of transmission to visitors at these locations is low because data has shown that monkeypox transmits through close physical or prolonged contact with infectious lesions or ulcers.

The four locations visited by the man are undergoing cleaning and disinfection.

Monkeypox is a viral disease caused by the monkeypox virus which is a less severe form of the smallpox virus. Symptoms of monkeypox include a rash which starts on the face and spreads to the body. While most patients can recover within two to three weeks, there are sometimes serious complications.

Caution is not unwarranted: the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported unusually high numbers of people infected with monkeypox outside of Africa this year despite no travel links to the region. The WHO has recorded one death in this outbreak so far.

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