Singapore confirms 2nd imported case of monkeypox; 3 in total

The man had developed anal discomfort on 28 June, 2022, and other symptoms progressively over the next few days. (PHOTOS: Getty Images)
The man had developed anal discomfort on 28 June, 2022, and other symptoms progressively over the next few days. (PHOTOS: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Singapore authorities have confirmed the city-state's second imported case of monkeypox infection.

The case is a 36-year-old male Indian national who resides in Singapore and had recently returned from the United States, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on its website on Thursday (7 July).

This brings the total number of such cases here to three – all men – including Wednesday's sole local case and an earlier imported case confirmed in June. The Indian national is not linked to the other two cases, said MOH, adding that contact tracing is ongoing.

The man tested positive for monkeypox on Thursday, after developing anal discomfort on 28 June, and other symptoms, including rashes typical of monkeypox, progressively over the next few days, said MOH.

He had sought medical care on Wednesday and was subsequently conveyed to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases on the same day, 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.

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