Philippines reports first case of monkeypox

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The Philippines has detected its first case of monkeypox in a person with a history of overseas travel, officials said Friday.

The announcement comes within a week of the World Health Organization declaring the outbreak a global health emergency.

Philippine officials did not identify the gender of the person, only saying they were 31 years old and tested positive on Thursday after an RT-PCR test.

"The case had prior travel to with documented monkeypox cases," said Beverly Ho, an acting undersecretary for the Department of Health.

"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 Wednesday that more than 18,000 cases have now been reported to the organisation from 78 countries, with 70 percent of them in Europe and 25 percent 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 Trixie Cruz-Angeles, press secretary for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

"This is not particularly fatal."

Ho said the Philippines was working with the United States to secure monkeypox vaccines.

© 2022 AFP

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