Monkeypox diagnosed in traveller who transited through Singapore, 13 under surveillance

Close-up of a patient's hands showing lesions from the monkeypox virus.
Close-up of a patient's hands showing lesions from the monkeypox virus. (PHOTO: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A male traveller who had transited through Singapore en route to Australia was diagnosed with monkeypox.

However, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a media statement on Monday (6 June) that there is currently no significant risk of community transmission of the virus in Singapore, as the traveller did not enter the city-state nor interact with persons in the community.

The ministry said that it was informed by the New South Wales Ministry of Health of the confirmed monkeypox case on Saturday.

The traveller had transited through Singapore on Thursday, arrived in Sydney on Friday and had tested positive for monkeypox there. He had previously departed from Barcelona on Wednesday.

Upon arrival at Changi Airport on Thursday, the traveller had remained in the transit holding area until his departure for Sydney on the same day, and did not visit other areas in the airport.

As a precautionary measure, MOH said that it has conducted contact tracing for the two affected flights and those who might have come into contact with the traveller at the airport transit area.

It assessed that there were no close contacts, and hence no requirement for quarantine. However, 13 persons who may have casual contact with the traveller were put on phone surveillance for 21 days.

These persons will receive daily phone calls to ascertain their health status. Should they report symptoms that are suggestive of monkeypox infection, they will be medically assessed and may be conveyed to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases for further evaluation.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that causes a rash that spreads, fever, chills and aches, among other symptoms.

Generally confined to western and central Africa, cases have been reported in Europe since May and the number of countries affected has grown since.

Singapore reported its first case of monkeypox in 2019, from a 38-year-old Nigerian who arrived in the city-state alone. He has since recovered and left Singapore.

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