DOH logs first PHL monkeypox case

The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Friday the detection of the first monkeypox case in the country—a 31-year-old Filipino national who arrived from abroad last July 19, 2022.

The case had prior travel to countries with documented monkeypox cases and was tested and confirmed positive for monkeypox via Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction or RT-PCR at the DOH Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on July 28.

“Our surveillance systems immediately detected Monkeypox. We immediately took care of and isolated the patient to keep the disease from spreading,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire, DOH Officer-in-Charge.

Vergeire said that fast contact tracing has identified the close contacts to halt transmission.

The DOH said that they have already completed its case investigation and identification of close contacts.

Ten close contacts were recorded, of which, three were from the same household.

All have been advised to quarantine, and are being monitored by the DOH.

The DOH also assured that public health surveillance systems are able to detect and confirm monkeypox cases.

“Let us continue to be vigilant, to follow our health protocols, and to get the right information only from DOH and its partner agencies,” Vergeire said.

Strict isolation

The DOH said the case has been discharged and is undergoing strict isolation and monitoring at home.

A different microorganism from Covid-19 causes monkeypox.

The DOH said 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, the DOH stressed that everyone can help prevent the spread of monkeypox by minimizing 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 said.