Most recommendations for monkeypox are in place in Singapore: Ministry of Health

Monkeypox was declared by the WHO as a public health emergency of international concern on July 23, 2022. (PHOTOS: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – Health authorities in Singapore said most of the temporary recommendations issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern on Saturday (July 23) have already been in place since May of this year.

In a response to the media Yahoo News Singapore Sunday evening, the Department of Health (MOH) said the city-state health system has the expertise and capacity to effectively test, diagnose and treat monkeypox infections.

He added that he regularly updates doctors and health facilities on the monkeypox situation, providing advice on protocols for identifying suspected cases as well as the management of confirmed cases.

On Sunday, Singapore reported eight cases of monkeypox. More than 16,000 cases have been detected in more than 75 countries, up from around 3,000 at the end of June, prompting the WHO to issue its highest level of alert on Saturday.

No large-scale social or movement restrictions in Singapore

There are currently no large-scale social or movement restrictions like the one Singapore has imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years.

The Department of Health said cases of monkeypox are isolated, while close contacts are quarantined and monitored for up to 21 days from the last date of exposure – the maximum incubation period – to reduce the spread of the disease.

Low-risk contacts are also placed under telephone monitoring for 21 days from their last exposure.

“Education and sensitization of at-risk groups is also important to reduce the spread,” the health ministry said in its response.

“In line with WHO recommendations, efforts have also been made to reach the at-risk population – for example, people engaging in high-risk sexual activities – through health and community partners to raise awareness about the transmission of monkeypox virus and precautionary measures to reduce the risk of further transmission.”

How to reduce the risk of monkeypox transmission

The ministry said exercising personal responsibility by avoiding high-risk activities, especially when symptomatic, and practicing good personal hygiene remain effective in reducing the risk of transmission of monkeypox.

He advised returning travellers, especially from areas affected by monkeypox, to seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms – such as sudden onset of high fever, swollen lymph nodes and rashes – in three weeks after their return. These travelers should inform their doctor of their recent travel history/risks.

“Anyone who suspects they may be at risk and has symptoms should also seek medical attention immediately,” the health ministry said..

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About Jean R. Manzer

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