‘Early detection, reporting will help prevent spread of Monkeypox’

·4 min read

AS WITH the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), physical distancing, regular handwashing and staying home when sick are just among the things the public can do to help prevent the spread of Monkeypox, the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7) said.

Early detection and reporting of suspected cases to doctors are also crucial, according to health officials.

DOH 7 Direcror Jaime Bernadas reassured the public that it has already intensified its surveillance activities for Monkeypox as early as May this year.

In an advisory on Saturday, July 30, 2022, he said he felt the need to reassure the public after the first case of Monkeypox in the Philippines was confirmed by the central office on Friday, July 29.

The DOH 7 director reminded the public that preventive measures against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) also work in preventing the spread of the Monkeypox.

“Since monkeypox is transmitted via close contact with the skin lesion and fluid from the vesicles, physical distancing, avoiding crowded places and regular handwashing are effective,” Bernadas said.

“Staying at home when sick is also advised especially if coming from travel from countries with confirmed cases of Monkeypox and seek medical consult as soon as possible,” he added.

Cebu City’s health officials also said the City Government is ready to manage Monkeypox cases.

Dr. Jeffrey Ibones, head of the Cebu City Health Department (CCHD), said since Covid-19 is still around, the system for isolation and quarantine of patients carrying highly infectious diseases is still in place.

Ibones said the Cebu City Quarantine Center (CCQC) at the North Reclamation Area is still operating and can accommodate some 200 patients.

He reminded the public that early detection and early reporting of symptoms to doctors will help prevent the spread of Monkeypox.

He also emphasized the need to continue wearing face masks to protect one’s self from diseases.

Ibones urged the public to continue boosting their immunity as an initial measure against Monkeypox.

Should there be cases in the region, Bernadas said all the heads of the health facilities have already been advised and are ready to accept patients for isolation and treatment.

First case

In a press briefing in Malacañang, Health Undersecretary Beverly Ho on Friday said the first confirmed case of Monkeypox in the country was a 31-year-old returning overseas Filipino and was tested and confirmed positive on July 28.

The patient, however, has been tagged as recovered while the 10 identified close contacts are not showing any symptoms but are in quarantine for 14 to 21 days.

Ho said systems are in place to detect Monkeypox-carrying travelers to the country, which is being led by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ).

“Monkeypox is caused by a micro-organism different from Covid-19; investigation of recent Monkeypox cases in other non-endemic countries indicates potential transmission through sexual contact,” said Ho.

“It spreads mostly by intimate sexual contact with those who have rashes and open lesions. It is not like Covid-19, which spreads mostly through air,” she added as she advised the public to be more cautious about whom they interact with, especially sexual intimate contact.

Ho said there is an ongoing discussion about the country’s access to Monkeypox vaccines.

Ready to help

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday, July 30, 2022, assured the Philippine government that it is ready to help the DOH face the new threat brought about by monkeypox.

In its statement regarding the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the Philippines, the WHO Philippines said it is ready to assist tqhe DOH.

“As we do with all disease outbreaks, WHO has been and will continue to work closely with the DOH to provide technical advice to support the development and implementation of national policies, strategies, and plans,” said WHO Philippines Officer-in-Charge Dr. Graham Harrison.

In turn, the WHO official said they welcome the readiness of the Philippine government in handling the entry of monkeypox.

“The Department of Health has been proactive towards preparedness, prevention, and response to monkeypox,” said Harrison.

He also called on all Filipinos to do their part in preventing the spread of monkeypox in the country.

“We, at WHO, want to highlight that monkeypox can affect anyone, but everyone can help reduce its transmission,” said Harrison.

The detection of the firsr case in the country comes almost a week after WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus announced that monkeypox can now be considered a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).. (MKG / JKV/ HDT / SunStar Philippines)

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