MANILA (UPDATE) — The Philippines has recorded 2 additional cases of monkeypox, the Department of Health said Friday, raising the country's total number of infections to 3.
The new cases have recent travel histories to nations with confirmed monkeypox cases, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
They are not linked to the Philippines' first monkeypox case, which was reported on July 29, and there is no evidence of local transmission of the disease.
"Based on our initial analysis, mukhang itong mga kasong na-detect natin are still imported. 'Yung kaso ay nanggaling sa ibang bansa but we are continuously evaluating and we are doing our surveillance," Vergeire said in a press briefing.
(It appears that the cases we detected are still imported. They were from abroad.)
The first confirmed monkeypox case, which is linked to travel, has since recovered and was discharged from isolation on Aug. 6. All 10 close contacts have also completed quarantine without exhibiting symptoms of the disease.
The country's second monkeypox case is a 34-year-old Filipino national who was confirmed positive on Aug. 18. To date, no close contact has been identified, the DOH said.
The patient is ready to be discharged and only finishing a 21-day isolation at home, Vergeire said.
Meanwhile, the third confirmed monkeypox case involves a 29-year-old Filipino national, who tested positive for the disease Friday, Aug. 19.
The patient is in quarantine at a health facility. Some 17 close contacts have been identified and details of their health status are being verified as contact-tracing is underway.
The new patients are not exhibiting severe symptoms of monkeypox, Vergeire said. They are being treated for common symptoms such as lesions.
Despite the detection of the 2 new cases, Vergeire said there was no need for the Philippines to close its borders yet. She instead called for intensified surveillance of the disease.
"Hindi ho natin kailangan mag-panic. Kailangan lamang talaga maging mas maingat tayo," she said.
(We need not panic. We just need to be careful.)
'PH IS READY FOR MONKEYPOX'
According to the World Health Organization, some 35,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported from 92 countries.
Monkeypox has long been endemic in Central and Western Africa but there have been outbreaks across the world since May. Most cases globally were spread via close contact through sexual activity.
The first symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headaches, muscle pain, and back pain during the course of 5 days.
Rashes subsequently appear on the face, the palms of hands and soles of feet, followed by lesions, spots and finally scabs.
The UN health agency in July declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency.
As the disease continues to spread in parts of the world, Vergeire said the Philippines is prepared to deal with a potential outbreak.
"The Philippines is ready for monkeypox. Our surveillance systems are detecting cases. Our hospitals and healthcare workers know and are implementing the latest protocols to care for our cases and halt infection," she said in a separate statement.
— With a report from Agence France-Presse