Monkeypox in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has recorded its first case of monkeypox, the Department of Health (DOH) announced on Friday, July 29.

DOH assistant spokesperson Beverly Ho made the announcement during the televised Malacañang press briefing. 

 

“The DOH has detected the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the country,” Ho said.

The case involves a 31-year-old Filipino who arrived from abroad last July 19. Ho said the case had prior travel to countries with documented monkeypox cases. 

 

On July 28, an RT-PCR test was performed on the case at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. The patient has been released and is being closely monitored and isolated at home.

 

Three members of the same family who had 10 close contacts were identified, according to Ho, and are now being quarantined.

 

Ho said that close contacts are not exhibiting any symptoms. 

 

“All have been advised to quarantine and are being monitored by the department,” Ho added.

 

Transmission

 

The virus known as monkeypox generates both the recognizable bumpy rash and fever-like symptoms. According to the World Health Organization, it mainly occurs in the tropical rainforest regions of Central and West Africa, but has occasionally been transported to other places (WHO).

The viral disease can be spread by direct contact with an infected person, animal, or contaminated objects, the DOH asked the public to continue adhering to minimal health standards.

 

Ho said that preliminary studies of recent monkeypox cases in other non-endemic countries also point to a possible sexual transmission path.

 

It is primarily transmitted through close sexual contact with people who have open wounds or rashes. It doesn’t spread in the air like COVID-19, said Ho.

 

“We are not disclosing any more of the clinical information since that is all within the purview of the specialist looking at them,” the DOH official stated.

 

Global Health Emergency

 

Monkeypox was declared a worldwide health emergency by the WHO on July 23.

 

In response to the disease’s spread, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus declared that “the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.”

 

The highest level of alert set by WHO is a public health emergency of global concern.

 

It signals that a health emergency requires an international coordinated response. It motivates countries to devote resources, activate public health responses, and work across borders on vaccines or other medical treatments.

 

Typically, monkeypox is not severe. There are two primary strains of it: the more severe Congo strain, which can cause up to 10% mortality, and the West African strain, which results in roughly 1% of cases dying. The West African strain has been identified in the cases in the UK.

Fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes are some of the signs and symptoms of monkeypox, which can have a variety of medical implications.

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