The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday said a Filipino in Singapore has tested positive for monkeypox.
DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza, citing a situation update by Singapore’s Ministry of Health, said the Filipino male infected by monkeypox was 31 years old.
Meanwhile, a Department of Health (DOH) official said it was wrong to discriminate against monkeypox patients, despite reports that many of the cases affected men who had sex with men.
“Let us avoid stigmatization and discrimination against them because that is wrong. The call of the WHO [World Health Organization] director general is for those at risk to avoid having multiple partners, especially if they come from countries where cases have been reported.” DOH Director Dr. Eric Tayag said.
The situation update from Singapore said the Filipino patient tested positive for monkeypox on July 25 and is currently confined at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH). His condition is stable, the ministry said.
It also said the Filipino patient developed a fever on July 21 and started having rashes on his face, which later spread to other parts of his body. He sought medical care at SGH on July 24 and was admitted on the same day.
Daza said this case was different from the first case reported in the Philippines on July 29 as the patient, also aged 31, arrived from abroad on July 19, while the case reported in Singapore is still admitted and being treated there.
The initial symptoms of monkeypox are fever, headaches, muscle pain, and back pain.
Rashes subsequently appear on the face, the palms of hands, and the soles of the feet, followed by lesions, spots, and finally, scabs.
The DOH said the disease is “rarely fatal.”
The Quezon City government, meanwhile, said it had set protocols to handle monkeypox since May.
Following the detection of the first monkeypox case in the Philippines, Mayor Joy Belmonte said they have been coordinating with the DOH since May when a rise in monkeypox cases was reported in several countries.
Doctors, nurses, and medical personnel from public and private hospitals and health centers recently underwent an orientation on monkeypox surveillance, screening, management, and infection.
To raise public awareness about the virus, the city’s Public Affairs and Information Services Department is posting cards and information materials on what monkeypox is, how it is transmitted, what are its symptoms, and how to avoid it.
All city government-owned hospitals —the Quezon City General Hospital, Rosario Maclang Bautista General Hospital, and Novaliches District Hospital—have already designated isolation rooms for suspected, probable, and confirmed cases of monkeypox.
Senator Christopher Go called on health authorities to intensify further their awareness, detection, disease surveillance, and containment efforts.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III cited the urgency of appointing a DOH secretary.