Monkeypox outbreak: South Korea and Singapore confirm first cases

The case in Singapore concerns a Briton who was in the city-state from 15 to 17 June. He tested positive for monkeypox on Monday after developing a skin rash, headaches and fever the previous week.

“During this period, he mostly stayed in his hotel room, with the exception of visiting a massage parlor and eating at three catering establishments on June 16,” the Singapore Ministry of Health said on Tuesday.

The ministry said 13 of the man’s close contacts have been identified and contacts are being traced, adding that the man is being treated at the National Center for Communicable Diseases.

The case in South Korea concerns a South Korean national who reported himself to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency after returning to the country from Germany on Wednesday. The KCDA reported that a South Korean man currently being treated at a facility in Seoul reported that he had a headache before the flight and had a fever, sore throat, fatigue and skin lesions upon arrival in the country.

Meanwhile, South Korea said it was also investigating a second suspected case involving a foreigner who entered the country on Monday and was taken to a hospital in Busan city after showing symptoms and blistering his skin.

The silent spread of monkeypox could be a wake-up call for the world

Considered a less severe relative of smallpox, monkeypox 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, exhaustion, headache, and muscle weakness, followed by swelling of the lymph nodes that help the body fight infection and disease.

Later, the disease progresses to rashes and lesions that can form blisters and scabs all over the body, usually lasting two to four weeks.

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

But the current flash has seen over 2500 cases reported in dozens of countries where the disease was not considered endemic, including Australia, which reported its first case on May 20, and the United States, where the CDC reported more than 110 confirmed cases as of Friday.

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

“The sudden emergence of monkeypox in several regions, with an initial lack of epidemiological links to areas where monkeypox has historically been reported, suggests that undetected transmission may have occurred for some time,” the WHO said in a statement. Last update.

Lessons from Covid-19

The last time a case of monkeypox was detected in Singapore was in 2019 in a 38-year-old Nigerian man who traveled to the city-state to attend a wedding.

“Monkeypox is not a new disease, so we do know quite a lot about this disease and the virus. [which] has been around for some time,” said Khoo Yun Khin, a physician and researcher at the Duke-NUS Outbreak Preparedness Center in Singapore.

“But there are changes to how the disease circulates and spreads in this current outbreak… [and] this seems to be an evolving situation.”

Hu said the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic could be applied to any potential monkeypox outbreak in the region.

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“Countries would be wise to pay attention. We have many tools that we have used for Covid-19 that will be useful now: contract tracking methods, quarantine protocols, and even a mass immunization strategy if necessary.

“While I don’t think we need to worry too much about the global situation and we may be in a better position now, disease outbreaks are never predictable as we know. We may have monkeypox surprises in the near future, so we must continue to strengthen our health and surveillance systems, collaborate with other countries, and make better decisions than [we did] during the Covid pandemic.”