SINGAPORE – The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed the first local case of monkeypox infection in Singapore.
The patient is a 45-year-old Malaysian national residing in Singapore. He tested positive for monkeypox on Wednesday July 6.
He is currently hospitalized at the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and his condition is stable.
“It is not related to the imported case announced by the Ministry of Health on June 21,” the ministry said.
The Health Ministry added that the man first developed skin lesions on his lower abdomen on June 30, then experienced fatigue and swollen lymph nodes on July 2.
He developed a fever and a sore throat on July 4 and saw a doctor where initial tests for other possible medical conditions were carried out.
When those tests came back negative, he was then sent on July 6 to NCID, where he was isolated for further evaluation.
The ministry added that three close contacts were identified on Wednesday, including two housemates and a social contact.
All close contacts will be quarantined for 21 days from their last contact with the case.
Contact tracing is ongoing.
The Department of Health said: “Monkey pox is generally a self-limiting disease where patients recover in two to four weeks.
“A small percentage of those infected may become seriously ill or even die.
“People particularly vulnerable to complications are young children, pregnant women or immunocompromised people.”
He added that the risk to the general public remains low, given that transmission requires close or prolonged physical contact.
The Department of Health also said it would continue to closely monitor the monkeypox situation and calibrate its preparedness and response measures as needed.
He encouraged the public to exercise personal responsibility by monitoring their personal health and maintaining good hygiene, especially while traveling.
The public should also avoid close contact with others known or suspected of having monkeypox infection, he said.
The first local case detected in Singapore follows the announcement on Wednesday by the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, that he would convene his monkeypox experts again to decide whether the worsening epidemic now constitutes a global public health emergency.
“Europe is the current epicenter of the outbreak, recording more than 80% of monkeypox cases worldwide,” he said.
Dr Tedros also said he would bring the experts together again the week of July 18, or earlier if necessary.
So far, most monkeypox infections have been seen in men who have sex with men, at young ages and mostly in urban areas, according to the WHO.
This article first appeared in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.