Oh my, this doesn’t look good!
FMT reported that Singapore’s Ministry of Health has confirmed an “imported case” of monkeypox. The ministry revealed that the 38-year-old Nigerian national arrived in our neighbouring country alone on 28th April 2019. Then, on 8th May 2019, he tested positive for monkeypox. Oh dear!
As of the time of writing, the patient has been admitted into an isolation ward at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). According to the centre’s website, the patient is currently in a stable condition.
The ministry shared that before arriving in Singapore, the patient attended a wedding in Nigeria and it’s likely that he ate bushmeat at the event, which is how he contracted the disease.
FYI, bushmeat is meat obtained by hunting wild animals. It’s also a “source of transmission of monkeypox virus”.
In addition, they said that the patient had been staying at a hotel at 21 Lorong 8 Geylang since 28th April 2019. The Nigerian national had reportedly attended a workshop which took place at 3 Church Street on 29th and 30th April 2019.
Investigations by Singapore’s MOH showed that 23 people came into close contact with the patient, and they have been identified. Following that, these 23 people – including 18 participants and trainers who attended the above-mentioned workshop, one staff at the workshop’s venue and four hotel staff – have been examined by NCID and offered vaccination as a safety precaution. Good call!
If you didn’t know, vaccination can either “prevent the disease or reduce the severity of symptoms”.
However, to be on the safe side, the 23 people will be quarantined and monitored for 21 days, starting from the days when they were exposed to the patient, in order to see if they show symptoms of monkeypox.
On the other hand, Malaysia’s MOH reassured that the risk of us getting infected by monkeypox is very low. Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye was quoted by FMT as saying,
“The risk of the virus spreading to Malaysia and people being infected is low unless they have a history of contact with infected animals (or are) among travellers from endemic countries in Western and Central Africa, especially Nigeria.”
Having said that, he said that the Disease Control Division will monitor the development of the issue via the World Health Organisation (WHO). They will also carry out “passive surveillance of suspected monkeypox cases in Malaysia”
On that note, we hope that Singapore’s MOH will quickly work to solve the issue before the disease spreads to other people.