The Department of Health (DOH) has detected the first confirmed case of Monkeypox in the country. The case is a 31-year-old Filipino national who arrived from abroad last July 19. The case had prior travel to countries with documented Monkeypox cases. The case was tested and confirmed positive for Monkeypox via Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction or RT-PCR, done at the DOH Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on July 28. The case has been discharged well, and is undergoing strict isolation and monitoring at home.
DOH has completed its case investigation and identification of close contacts. Ten (10) close contacts were recorded, of which, three (3) were from the same household. All have been advised to quarantine, and are being monitored by the Department. The DOH assures everyone that our public health surveillance systems are able to detect and confirm Monkeypox cases.
Monkeypox is caused by a different microorganism that is different from COVID-19. Investigation of recent Monkeypox cases in non-endemic countries indicates potential transmission through sexual contact. It spreads mostly by intimate sexual contact with those who have rashes or open lesions. It is not like COVID-19 that spreads mostly through the air. Monkeypox symptoms are mild, and the disease is rarely fatal.
While it is now a public health emergency of international concern, everyone can help prevent the spread of Monkeypox. Minimize close sexual contact with suspected cases, especially those with rashes or open wounds. Keep hands clean. Wear a face mask; cover coughs using the elbow, and choose areas with good airflow. The DOH wishes to emphasize that anyone may get Monkeypox. If you have a travel history to countries with Monkeypox, and then have symptoms like fever, lymphadenopathy or “kulani”, and rashes, seek immediate medical attention. This will help hasten recovery.
“Our surveillance systems immediately detected Monkeypox. We immediately took care of and isolated the patient to keep the disease from spreading. Fast contact tracing has identified the close contacts, to halt transmission. Let us continue to be vigilant, to follow our health protocols, and to get the right information only from DOH and its partner agencies," said Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire, DOH Officer-in-Charge.