Following a World Health Organisation (WHO) alert of a monkeypox outbreak in Africa in early May, is it likely that the disease will spread to Malaysia?
In a statement on Saturday (May 21), Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that the risk of monkeypox spreading to Malaysia is low unless there is a history of contact with infected animals or direct contact with infected patients.
He said that the possibility of human-to-human transmission of the infection was limited.
However, he said the Health Ministry would monitor the developments in the virus' situation through reports issued by the WHO, besides monitoring suspected monkeypox cases at all international gateways nationwide.
He also said travellers to countries where there are monkeypox outbreaks such as in Central and West Africa should take precautionary measures.
"It is important to maintain good personal hygiene, including washing hands regularly after going to the toilet or when hands get dirty.
"Also avoid direct contact with the wounds on infected people and animals, as well as things that may be contaminated with bodily fluids such as dirty clothes used by infected people.
"Avoid contact with wild animals or consuming its meat," he said.
Travellers who arrive in the country from places with a monkeypox outbreak or display symptoms within three weeks of leaving those areas are advised to seek immediate treatment at the nearest health facility.
"Inform the doctor about your travel history. Avoid all contact with other individuals and isolate for at least 21 days to ensure the maculopapular rash is completely dry," he said.