No cases of monkeypox had been detected in Brunei Darussalam as of June 15 despite 2,027 transmissions being reported in 36 other countries.
This was disclosed by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar and Public Health Consultant Dr Justin Wong during the weekly Ministry of Health (MoH) press conference.
The minister said the ministry is monitoring health clinics while also making preparations to identify patients with monkeypox symptoms. There are also measures in place for frontline doctors, particularly those at accident and emergency (A&E), to streamline the process to contact Dr Wong’s team for examination and treatment.
Dr Wong said the main symptoms of monkeypox include fever, rashes, swelling of lymph nodes while other indications include headache, muscle pain and fatigue.
He said symptoms are similar to those of chickenpox with shingles or other skin infections also seen.
“In many cases, the symptoms will disappear in two to four weeks. If anyone experiences these symptoms, they are advised to see a doctor for further medical investigation,” said the public health consultant.
He added that the disease usually transmits through physical contact and most cases are due to intimate activities.
Dr Wong said PCD analysis shows transmissions in non-endemic countries are traced to the West African clade.
Dr Wong said the MoH has outlined a preparation plan to prevent and manage monkeypox. These include surveillance, investigation and contact tracing. He also said laboratory tests for monkeypox will be conducted using the RT-PCR.
Dr Wong said part of the plan includes public awareness campaigns particularly among high risk groups.
He also outlined that testing and medical treatment of monkeypox cases will be done at the National Isolation Centre (NIC) in Tutong District.
Dr Wong said that a comprehensive vaccination programme is not needed yet and shots can be administered to close contacts to prevent severe symptoms.
Meanwhile, Infectious Diseases Consultant Dr Hajah Riamiza Natalie binti Haji Momin said that monkeypox cases do not require specific treatment. However, the patients will be given support management such as pain relief or treatment of complications due to skin infection caused by bacteria. Dr Hajah Riamiza Natalie said anti-viral treatment will be considered for high-risk individuals such as those with low immunity and experiencing complications.
She called on the public to raise awareness on monkeypox’s symptoms and its transmission and to follow updates from reliable sources.
Those with symptoms should seek medical treatment, said the infectious diseases consultant.