MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines has detected its first case of monkeypox in a person with a history of overseas travel, officials said yesterday.
The announcement comes within a week of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency.
Philippine officials did not identify the gender of the 31-year-old, only saying that the person tested positive on Thursday after an RT-PCR test.
“The case had prior travel to countries with documented monkeypox cases,” said Acting Undersecretary for the Department of Health Beverly Ho.
“Ten close contacts were recorded, of which three are from the same household. All have been advised to quarantine and are being monitored by the department.”
A surge in monkeypox infections has been reported since May outside the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday that more than 18,000 cases have now been reported to the organisation from 78 countries, with 70 per cent of them in Europe and 25 per cent in the Americas.
Five deaths have been reported in the outbreak since May, he said.
The Philippines sought to head off potential panic, saying monkeypox was not like COVID-19.
“This is not like COVID that can be spread by air very easily and could possibly be fatal,” said Press Secretary for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr Trixie Cruz-Angeles. “This is not particularly fatal.”
Ho said the Philippines was working with the United States to secure monkeypox vaccines.