MANILA (UPDATE) — The 10 close contacts of the Philippines' first case of monkeypox are still undergoing quarantine and remain asymptomatic, the Department of Health said on Thursday.
"To date, there has been no new case of monkeypox in the country," the DOH said in a statement.
The country confirmed its first case of monkeypox on July 29.
DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said the monkeypox patient had since recovered from the disease, discharged from isolation and allowed to interact with other people.
According to the World Health Organization, over 16,000 confirmed cases have been recorded in 75 countries so far this year.
Monkeypox has long been endemic in Central and Western Africa but there have been outbreaks across the world since May.
Vergeire said most cases globally were spread via close contact through sexual activity. Other routes include direct contact or by touching objects or fabrics used by someone who is infected with the disease.
The DOH is coordinating with the private sector in procuring vaccines against monkeypox, which Vergeire said may arrive in 2023.
KIDS MORE AT RISK?
The Philippines is in talks with drugmakers in the US for procurement of vaccines used for the prevention of monkeypox, a health expert said Thursday.
Dr. Ted Herbosa, a member of the Advisory Council of Expert, said the vaccines were originally developed against monkeypox's related virus, smallpox.
"Ito ay post exposure vaccination at hindi ibibigay sa lahat ng tao," he said in Laging Handa press briefing.
(This is post exposure vaccination and is not given to everyone.)
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those whose jobs may expose them to monkeypox may get vaccinated with either ACAM2000 or JYNNEOS.
Those who can get pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) are clinical laboratory personnel, research laboratory workers and certain healthcare and public health response team members, it said.
The CDC added that past data from Africa suggests that the smallpox vaccine is at least 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox.
"Smallpox and monkeypox vaccines are effective at protecting people against monkeypox when given before exposure to monkeypox," it said. "Experts also believe that vaccination after a monkeypox exposure may help prevent the disease or make it less severe."
According to data from previously affected countries, children are typically more prone to severe disease if they catch monkeypox, Herbosa said.
"Ang nakita namin sa monkeypox ang mas nagiging serious ay 'yung bata," he said. "'Yung may edad mild lang 'yung nangyayari sa kanila, gumagaling din sila pagkaraan ng ilang araw."
The WHO said there have been a small number of children with monkeypox in the current outbreak.
"Children can catch monkeypox if they have close contact with someone who has symptoms. Data from previously affected countries show that children are typically more prone to severe disease than adolescents and adults," it said.