Singapore, South Korea report first monkeypox cases

One imported case, a British flight attendant, confirmed in Singapore; two suspected cases, including a foreign national, reported in South Korea

This handout photo taken in the year 2004 and received on May 23, 2022 from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the German federal government agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention, shows an ultrathin section electron-microscopic capture of the monkeypox virus. – (Photo by Freya KAULBARS / RKI Robert Koch Institute / AFP) 


(Eagle News) — Both Singapore and South Korea reported their first suspected monkeypox cases, the first such reported cases in Southeast and East Asia respectively

In Singapore, the Ministry of Health has confirmed one imported case of monkeypox infection, a 42-year-old male British national who works as a flight attendant. He was in Singapore between June 15 and 17, and then again June 19 since he flew in and out of Singapore.

He tested positive for monkeypox on June 20.

This is the first confirmed monkeypox case in Southeast Asia, in terms of the recent outbreak of monkeypox worldwide.

The patient is “currently warded in at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), and his condition is stable.” Contact tracing is ongoing.

According to the Ministry of Health, the case had onset of headache on June 14, and fever on June 16. “These symptoms subsequently resolved” but then he developed skin rashes on June 19. That same night he sought medical attention via teleconsultation and was brought to the NCID for “further assessment.”

-13 close contacts of flight attendant identified in Singapore-

“Contact tracing is ongoing for the affected flights and for the duration of his stay in Singapore,” said Singapore’s health ministry which reported 13 close contacts of the case that have been identified.

These close contacts will also be placed on quarantine for 21 days since their last contact with the case.

The health ministry said that the male flight attendant had largely remained in his hotel room during his stay in Singapore, except for a visit to a massage establishment on June 16. He also ate at three food establishments that day.

“In general, 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,” it said.

-Suspected monkeypox cases in South Korea to undergo further diagnostic tests-

Meanwhile, South Korea reported its first two suspected cases of the monkeypox virus.

“Diagnostic tests and epidemiological investigations on the monkeypox are being conducted and the health authority will swiftly hold a briefing to announce measures and response plans once the results are out,” the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said in a statement.

The first suspected case is a foreigner whose nationality was not revealed. He had reportedly showed symptoms since Sunday such as sore throat and skin lesions. He arrived in South Korea on Monday and is now being treated at an isolation bed in a hospital in Busan.

The other case is a Korean citizen who arrived from Germany on Tuesday afternoon. His symptoms reportedly included mild fever, sore throat, fatigue and skin lesions since Saturday. He reported to health authorities in South Korea and was admitted to the Incheon Medical Center.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “since early May 2022, cases of monkeypox have been reported from countries where the disease is not endemic, and continue to be reported in several endemic countries.”

“Most confirmed cases with travel history reported travel to countries in Europe and North America, rather than West or Central Africa where the monkeypox virus is endemic. This is the first time that many monkeypox cases and clusters have been reported concurrently in non-endemic and endemic countries in widely disparate geographical areas,” WHO said.

“Most reported cases so far have been identified through sexual health or other health services in primary or secondary health-care facilities and have involved mainly, but not exclusively, men who have sex with men,” it said

Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks, but severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3 percent to 6 percent.

It can be transmitted to humans “through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus” such as body fluids and respiratory droplets” and lesions.

Monkeypox is caused by monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae.

An antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox.

(Eagle News Service)