No new monkeypox cases in Singapore but doctors must be vigilant, says Ministry of Health


The National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) played a key role in the confirmation of the imported case of monkeypox in Singapore in 2019. NCID is a purpose-built facility designed to strengthen Singapore’s capabilities in infectious disease management and prevention. - The Straits Times/ANN

SINGAPORE, May 21 (The Straits Times/ANN): While there are no new monkeypox cases in Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has alerted all medical practitioners here to be vigilant in detecting and reporting cases of the disease.

The ministry said that it will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, MOH added on Saturday (May 21) that as at Friday, no monkeypox cases have been detected here, apart from the imported case from Nigeria which was detected here on May 8, 2019.

The virus has been seen in central and west Africa, but over recent weeks cases have been detected in in nine European countries, as well as the US, Canada and Australia.

MOH said monkeypox is a rare disease caused by a virus that is primarily transmitted to humans from animals.

Human-to-human transmission, while possible, is limited.

An individual is infectious primarily during the period when they have symptoms, particularly skin rash.

"Transmission typically occurs from close contact with the respiratory tract secretions or skin lesions of an infected person, or objects recently contaminated by an infected person's fluids or lesions," the ministry said.

Infected individuals would typically experience fever, headache, muscle ache, backache and swollen lymph nodes.

They may also get a skin rash that usually appears one to five days after the first symptoms, and which may resemble blisters caused by chickenpox.

Individuals will usually recover from their symptoms in two to four weeks.

"The disease is usually self-limiting, however severe illness and death can occur in some individuals," the ministry said.

Travellers are advised to take necessary precautions, including maintaining a high standard of personal hygiene, avoiding direct contact with skin lesions of infected living or dead persons or animals.

It added that travellers should also avoid contact with wild animals and consumption of bush meat.

"Returning travellers, especially from areas affected by monkeypox, should seek immediate medical attention if they develop any disease symptoms within three weeks of their return. They should also inform their doctor of their recent travel history," MOH said. - The Straits Times/ANN

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