TL;DR – Singapore recorded the first local case of monkeypox infection; is it a case for concern?
On 6 July 2022, Singapore recorded the first local case of monkeypox infection. Yikes!
Seeing the headline of the news on The Straits Times brought me back to more than two and a half years ago — when Singapore recorded the first local case of Covid-19. Not a particularly wholesome flashback, isn’t it?
The infected individual is a 45-year-old Malaysian national residing in Singapore. He has since been warded and isolated at the National Centre of Infectious Diseases (NCID) after testing positive for monkeypox. No idea how he caught the virus (yet).
He had lower abdomen skin lesions on 30June and later felt tired and his lymph nodes became swollen on 2 July. On 4 July, he started to have fever and sore throat. He was tested for other possible medical conditions, but they all came out negative.
He was then conveyed to NCID to be isolated and further assessed. His close contacts — two housemates and one social contact will be quarantined for 21 days. Further contact-tracing is ongoing to nib the possible spread of the monkeypox virus.
Like Covid-19 which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus. Infected individuals usually recover within two to four weeks. Mortality, however, is still high for young children and pregnant women, as well as those who are immunocompromised.
Should we be scared?
It is advised that the risk of widespread transmission remains low as transmission of the monkeypox virus required close physical or prolonged contact.
Our Ministry of Health (MOH) will continue to monitor, and is prepared to respond swiftly, if needed.
What can we as individuals do? Like how we confronted Covid-19 — maintain personal cleanliness and hygiene and monitor your health, especially during travelling.
Of course, if you know that someone is a close contact of someone with monkeypox — siam lah.
WHO reconvenes monkeypox emergency committee
Coincidentally, WHO has reconvened its monkeypox emergency committee to now decide if the worsening outbreak should be considered a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) — the highest level of warning the WHO sounds to the world.
Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic under the PHEIC on 30 January 2022.
There are now more than 6,000 confirmed and recorded cases of monkeypox across 58 countries. Monkeypox was initially endemic in West and Central African countries, but it has surged since early May in countries outside these regions.
WHO Chief Dr Tedros warned that it’s highly probable that there are cases not being picked up, and countries should maintain high alert.
Europe is now the epicenter of the outbreak, accounting for more than 80 per cent of the 6,000 plus cases.
As we continue to fight Covid-19 and possibly confront another horrific virus, maybe it’s wise to exercise more caution and be socially responsible — look after one’s own health and the others around you, advise them if they are acting socially irresponsible.
I don’t think we want another global pandemic, right? I can barely deal with Covid-19 anymore leh.