PHUKET is rushing to track down a Nigerian man who is the country’s first Monkeypox case as he did not return to the hospital for treatment, switched off his mobile phone and moved out of a condo and hotel he was staying in as police closed in on him, Sanook.com said.
The Public Health Ministry’s Disease Control Department said after a private hospital on the island notified them that they had found a suspected Monkeypox patient an investigation team from Nakhon Si Thammarat went to check together with the officials from the Provincial Health Office on July 18.
The patient, an unidentified 27-year-old Nigerian man, came to Thailand from Nigeria and told the doctors at this hospital that over the past week he had fever, cough, sore throat, red rash and red pustules. The pustules started from the genital area and spread to the face, trunk and arms.
Samples were collected and sent to the laboratory at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine and it was confirmed on July 18 that he had been infected with Monkeypox.
On the afternoon of July 19 the Medical Sciences Department together with an investigative team studied the laboratory data and symptoms and reconfirmed that he had been infected with this viral disease.
Upon getting confirmation from the Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine on July 18 the hospital called the patient to come in for treatment but he did not show up for the appointment and was unreachable as he had switched off his mobile phone.
Police were notified that same day and they tracked down the patient at a condo in Kathu district. However, the police team that went there found out through the surveillance camera clip that he had left for Patong on July 19.
By 7 p.m. on July 20 police tracked him down at a Patong hotel and asked the taxi driver who brought him there to contact officials as he was at risk of catching this infection.
However when they got to the hotel at 9 p.m. they found that he left his key there and went elsewhere. Surveillance camera clip showed he did not contact anyone and only stayed in his room.
Police are uncertain whether he is still in Phuket or has left the country but if he has gone to another country it was unlikely by airplane as all preparations had been made.
There are now six individuals with high-risk exposure while 142 entertainment venue workers and proprietors are undergoing tests with seven cleared after completion of their tests on the first day.
Top: An illustration of Monkeypox virus particles. Photo: Nobeastsofierce/ Science photo Li and published by RNZ
Front Page: Dr Kusak Kukiattikoon, Phuket provincial chief medical officer, briefing the press about the escaped Monkeypox patient. Photo: Sanook.com