Malaysian man confirmed as Singapore's first local monkeypox case

The patient is currently warded at NCID and his condition is stable. - ST FILE

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed the first local case of monkeypox infection in Singapore.

The patient is a 45-year-old male Malaysian national who resides in Singapore. He tested positive for monkeypox on Wednesday (July 6).

He is currently hospitalised at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and his condition is stable.

"He is not linked to the imported case announced by MOH on June 21," said the ministry.

MOH added that the man first developed lower abdomen skin lesions on June 30, and subsequently experienced fatigue and swollen lymph nodes on July 2.

He developed a fever and a sore throat on July 4 and sought medical attention where initial tests for other possible medical conditions were done.

When these tests returned negative, he was subsequently sent on July 6 to NCID, where he was isolated for further assessment.

The ministry added that three close contacts have been identified as at Wednesday, including two housemates and one social contact.

All close contacts will be placed on quarantine for 21 days from their last contact with the case.

Contact tracing is ongoing.

Said MOH: "Monkeypox is typically a self-limiting illness where patients 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."

It added that risk to the general public remains low, given that transmission requires close physical or prolonged contact.

MOH also said it will continue to monitor the monkeypox situation closely and calibrate its preparedness and response measures as needed.

It encouraged the public to exercise personal responsibility by monitoring their personal health and maintaining good hygiene, especially during travel.

The public should also avoid close contact with other individuals known or suspected to be ill with monkeypox infection, it said.

The first local case detected in Singapore follows an announcement by World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday that it would reconvene its monkeypox experts to decide if the worsening outbreak now constitutes a global public health emergency.

“Europe is the current epicentre of the outbreak, recording more than 80 per cent of monkeypox cases globally,” he said.

Dr Tedros also said that he would reconvene the experts in the week of July 18, or sooner if needed.

Most monkeypox infections so far have been observed in men who have sex with men, of young age and chiefly in urban areas, according to the WHO.

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