MANILA (UPDATE) — The Filipino monkeypox patient reported in Singapore was not the same one detected last week in the Philippines, the Department of Health said Tuesday.
The Philippines on July 28 confirmed its first case of monkeypox in a 31-year-old with travel history in countries with reported infections of the virus.
Meanwhile, a 31-year-old Filipino was admitted to the Singapore General Hospital on July 24 after experiencing rashes 3 days prior.
"Magkaibang tao, magkaibang date of onset, magkaibang lokasyon ang pinuntahan. Ang pareho lang ay edad," Vergeire told reporters.
(They are 2 different people with different dates of onset of symptoms and who visited different locations. They just have the same age.)
"Tayo po patuloy nakikipag-ugnayan sa Singapore authorities. Ang mabibigay lang po nila sa 'tin na data would be the individual is 31 years old, hindi siya tourist."
(We continue to coordinate with Singapore authorities. What they can tell us is the individual is 31 years old and is not a tourist.)
The patient in the Philippines remains under isolation and is getting well, according to Vergeire. The case experienced symptoms in other countries but these subsided before they returned to the Philippines, Vergeire said.
"Pag-uwi niya dito wala siyang kahit anong sintomas pero after a few days lumabas na yung kanyang rashes," she said.
(When they returned home, they had no symptoms, but they developed rashes after a few days.)
'NO REASON TO DISCRIMINATE'
Anyone can get monkeypox as it has not been classified as a sexually transmitted disease, the DOH said.
The monkeypox virus is transmitted through close or direct contact, according to DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire.
"Kahit sino sa atin maaaring makakuha ng monkeypox, it’s not just confined to that sector kaya dapat lahat tayo mag-iingat," she told reporters.
(Anyone of us can get monkeypox it’s not just confined to that sector so we should all be careful.)
"Wala pong rason para mag-discriminate tayo ng kahit sino ukol sa sakit na ito. Kahit sino sa atin maaaring magkaroon ng sakit na ito."
(There's no reason for us to discriminate against anyone about this illness. Anyone can get this disease.)
MONKEYPOX, SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES
According to the World Health Organization, more than 30 different bacteria, viruses and parasites are known to be transmitted through sexual contact.
"Eight of these pathogens are linked to the greatest incidence of sexually transmitted disease. Of these, 4 are currently curable: syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. The other 4 are viral infections which are incurable: hepatitis B, herpes simplex virus (HSV or herpes), HIV and human papillomavirus (HPV)," the WHO said.
Sexually transmitted infections "are spread predominantly by sexual contact" and some "can also be transmitted from mother-to-child during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding," it added.
Meanwhile, monkeypox "spreads in different ways," said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC said monkeypox could spread from person-to-person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. Pregnant people can also spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
Touching items that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids is another way monkeypox spreads. It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by eating meat or using products from an infected animal, the CDC said.
While monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, it "can spread during intimate physical contact between people," including sex, hugging, kissing, massaging or talking closely, according to the CDC.
"Anyone can get monkeypox if they have close personal contact with someone who has symptoms of monkeypox," it said.
The Philippines has the capacity to detect monkeypox and hospitals have been briefed in detecting and treating patients, according to Vergeire.
Monkeypox symptoms include fever, headache, cough, joint pains, backache, tonsillitis, and rashes that begin to spread near the face, Vergeire said. Rashes usually last 2 to 4 weeks before these heal by themselves, she added.
"Bagamat rare ang fatality rate, may 10 percent chance kung tatamaan ito lalo na kung kayo ay immunocompromised. Upang maiwasan, maliban sa COVID-19, epektibo pa rin ang ating minimum public health standards laban sa monkeypox," she said.
(Even though it's rare, the disease has a 10 percent fatality rate, especially if the person infected is immunocompromised. Our minimum health standards work to prevent infection against monkeypox and COVID-19.)
The Philippines continuously coordinates with its international partners to get ahold of smallpox vaccines which also work against the monkeypox virus, Vergeire said.