SINGAPORE — Singapore authorities confirmed another imported case of monkeypox infection on Friday (8 July), bringing the total number of infections linked to the outbreak to four.
The case is a 30-year-old male Indian national who resides in Singapore and had recently returned from Germany, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on its website.
The four cases – all men – include Wednesday's sole local case and an earlier imported case confirmed in June. A compatriot of Friday's case was also on Thursday confirmed to be an imported infection.
The latest case is not linked to the other three infections, said MOH, adding that contact tracing is ongoing.
After developing rashes in the groin area on 30 June, the man subsequently had a fever on Thursday and sought medical care on the same day.
He was also conveyed to National Centre for Infectious Diseases on Thursday, where he is currently warded in stable condition.
More than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 59 countries and territories in the current outbreak, according to the latest update by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The UN agency will reconvene a meeting of the committee that will advise on declaring the outbreak a global health emergency – WHO's highest level of alert – in the week beginning 18 July or sooner, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday during a virtual news conference.
At its previous meeting on 27 June, the committee decided that the outbreak was not yet a health emergency.
Monkeypox, a usually mild viral infection that causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, has been spreading globally since May.
The fatality rate in previous outbreaks of the monkeypox strain currently spreading has been around 1 per cent.
While patients typically recover within two to four weeks, a small percentage of those infected can fall seriously ill or even die. Those particularly vulnerable to complications are young children, pregnant women or immunocompromised individuals.
The risk to the general public remains low given that transmission of the infection requires close physical or prolonged contact.
Given these reasons, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in a written parliamentary reply on Monday said monkeypox is unlikely to become a global pandemic like COVID-19.
"Unlike COVID-19 vaccination, mass population-wide vaccination with the smallpox vaccine is not recommended as a preventive strategy for monkeypox, in line with international recommendations and the global response thus far," Ong wrote.
Although the smallpox vaccine is up to 85 per cent effective at preventing monkeypox, it has potentially severe side effects, according to Ong.
For the general population, the risks of complications outweigh the benefits, because they are at low risk of being infected, he added.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay in the know on-the-go: Join Yahoo Singapore's Telegram channel