Singapore confirms first imported case of monkeypox

Monkeypox new disease dangerous over the world. High quality photo
Monkeypox. (FILE PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (21 June) confirmed one imported case of monkeypox infection in Singapore.

The patient is a 42-year-old British man who works as a flight attendant and was in Singapore between 15 and 17 June, and again on 19 June as he flew in and out of Singapore.

He tested positive for monkeypox on 20 June and is currently warded in at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). His condition is stable while contact tracing is ongoing.

The case had onset of headache on 14 June, and fever on 16 June. These symptoms subsequently resolved, and he then developed skin rashes on 19 June. He sought medical attention via teleconsultation on 19 June, and was conveyed to NCID on 20 June.

Contact tracing is ongoing for the affected flights and for the duration of the man’s stay in Singapore.

During this period, he had mostly remained in his hotel room, except to visit a massage establishment, and eat at three food establishments on 16 June. The risk of transmission to visitors at these locations is low, as data has shown that monkeypox transmits through close physical or prolonged contact. All four locations visited by the case are undergoing cleaning and disinfection.

As of Tuesday, 13 close contacts have been identified, and they will be placed on quarantine for 21 days since their last contact with the case.

In addition, two low-risk contacts have been placed on phone surveillance, during which they will receive daily phone calls over 21 days to monitor for any onset of symptoms. If suspected of being infected, they will be immediately conveyed to the NCID for further evaluation and isolation.

Monkeypox is a viral disease that is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Infected persons would typically experience fever, headache, muscle ache, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, lethargy and skin rash. Most patients recover within two to three weeks but in some cases, the virus can cause serious complications. Individuals who are at higher risk of severe illness include young children, pregnant women or immunocompromised individuals.

Human-to-human transmission is rare, but can occur via exposure to respiratory droplets or direct physical contact with the blood, body fluid or lesion material from infected individual or contaminated materials. The incubation period ranges from five to 21 days. People with the infection are generally infectious from onset of fever until the skin lesions have scabbed over.

Given the evolving global situation, MOH urged members of the public, especially travellers, to take precautions such as maintaining a high standard of personal hygiene, and seeking immediate medical attention if they develop any disease symptoms.

The announcement came two weeks after MOH said a male traveller who had transited through Singapore en route to Australia was diagnosed with monkeypox.

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