A THIRD monkeypox case has cropped up in the country with this being a German man who came to Phuket on July 18 and soon afterwards started having symptoms and later tested positive, Matichon newspaper said today (Aug. 3).
Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, head of the Public Health Ministry’s Disease Control Department, said it has been confirmed that the unidentified 25-year-old German man is infected with monkeypox with the island province forwarding the patient’s timeline of activities
As the patient started developing symptoms shortly after arriving in Thailand it is likely that he got infected overseas, he said, adding that screening of people at risk of getting infected through contact with this patient showed none had caught the disease.
However symptoms have to be observed for 21 days during which they are allowed to go out but must be careful to not have close contact with anyone.
“As for the risk of monkeypox spreading in Thailand, it has been observed that all three cases are male. This is in line with World Health Organisation data revealing that 98% of the cases are men who have sex with men.
“This is also consistent with Thai data as all three are male, two foreigners and one Thai, with the latter having close contact with a foreigner.
“Therefore the risk arises from close contact with foreign monkeypox patients,” he said.
This third patient’s monkeypox symptom started with enlarged lymph nodes but no fever. Later he developed a rash on the genitals and this spread all across the body.
As the symptoms clearly pointed to monkeypox he went to a hospital for treatment.
With only 9% of monkeypox patients requiring hospitalisation Thailand too will allow those who do not have serious problems to isolate at home.
Dr. Opas added that the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) is working on getting monkeypox vaccine and some will be arriving no later than this month.
Two groups are targeting for vaccination, firstly those who have not been infected but are at high risk of doing so such as medical and public health personnel and lab staff, and secondly those who had contact with a monkeypox patient but not more than 14 days ago as the vaccine would work on them.
Regarding treatment, data shows that the first two patients recovered without taking antiviral medicine. Yet medicine is required for specific groups of patients such as those with poor immune system or weakened body but not all.
Top: Test tubes labelled “Monkeypox virus positive and negative” are seen in this illustration. Photo: Reuters and published by The Straits Times
Front Page: Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, left, and a colleague briefing the press about Thailand’s third monkeypox case. Photo: Matichon