Monkeypox outbreak: South Korea and Singapore confirm first cases


Singapore reported its first confirmed case of monkeypox in Southeast Asia during this year’s outbreak – while another confirmed case was found in South Korea.

The case in Singapore concerns a British man who was in the city between 15 and 17 June. He tested positive for monkeypox on Monday after developing a rash, headache and fever last week.

“During this period, he has largely stayed in his hotel room except for visiting a massage establishment and dining at three restaurants on June 16,” Singapore’s Ministry of Health said on Tuesday.

The ministry said that 13 close contacts of the man have been identified, and contact tracing is currently underway, adding that the man is being treated at the National Center for Infectious Diseases.

The case in South Korea concerns a South Korean national who reported the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency after arriving in the country from Germany on Wednesday. The South Korean – who is now being treated at a facility in Seoul – reported having a headache before flying and developing a fever, sore throat, fatigue and skin lesions upon arrival in the country, the KCDA said.

Meanwhile, South Korea said it is also investigating another suspected case involving a foreigner who entered the country on Monday and was taken to a hospital in Busan after developing symptoms and developing skin sores.

Monkeypox, a close relative of smallpox, has an incubation period of seven to 14 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Initial symptoms are usually flu-like, such as fever, chills, fatigue, headache, and muscle weakness, followed by swollen lymph nodes, which help the body fight infection and disease.

The disease later develops into a rash and lesions that can blister and scar all over the body – usually lasting two to four weeks.

The virus has been circulating for decades in some places, including parts of West and Central Africa.

But the current outbreak has seen more than 2,500 cases reported in dozens of countries where the disease is not considered endemic — including Australia, which reported its first case on May 20, and the United States, where the CDC reported as of Friday. about more. out of 110 confirmed cases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently said it would remove the distinction between endemic and non-endemic countries to reflect a “uniform response.”

“The unexpected emergence of monkeypox in several regions in the initial absence of epidemiological links to regions that historically reported monkeypox, suggests that there may have been undetected transmission for some time,” the WHO said in a recent update.

Micrograph of mature oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and immature spherical virions, right, taken from a human skin sample.

Singapore detected its last case of monkeypox in 2019, a 38-year-old man from Nigeria who had traveled to the city state to attend a wedding.

“Monkeypox is not a new disease, so we actually know a lot about the disease and the virus [which] “It’s been around for some time,” said Ko Yong Khin, a physician and scientific officer at the Duke-NUS Center for Outbreak Preparedness in Singapore.

“But there is a change in how the disease spreads and spreads with this current outbreak… [and] This appears to be an evolving situation.”

Khoo said the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic can be applied to any potential monkeypox outbreak in the region.

It would be wise for countries to take notice. We have many tools that we used on Covid-19 and they will come in handy now: contract tracing methods, quarantine protocols and even a mass immunization strategy if needed.

“While I don’t think we need to be overly concerned about the global situation and we may now be in a better place, outbreaks are never as predictable as we know. We may have monkeypox surprises in the near future, so we should We continue to strengthen our health and surveillance systems, work collaboratively with other countries and make better decisions than [we did] during the covid pandemic.

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