SINGAPORE — Singapore authorities confirmed a second local case of monkeypox infection on Wednesday (13 July), bringing the total number of infections linked to the outbreak to five.
The case is a 48-year-old British man who resides in Singapore, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on its website.
The Briton is not linked to the other cases, said MOH, adding that contact tracing is ongoing.
After developing rashes in the perianal region – area of the body surrounding the anus – on 6 July and a fever on 11 July, the man sought medical care on Wednesday.
He was subsequently admitted to National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on the same day and tested positive for monkeypox The man is currently warded at the centre, where he is in stable condition.
More than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 59 countries and territories in the current outbreak, according to the latest update by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The UN agency will reconvene a meeting of the committee that will advise on declaring the outbreak a global health emergency – WHO's highest level of alert – in the week beginning 18 July or sooner, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday during a virtual news conference.
At its previous meeting on 27 June, the committee decided that the outbreak was not yet a health emergency.
Monkeypox is usually mild
Monkeypox, a usually mild viral infection that causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, has been spreading globally since May.
The fatality rate in previous outbreaks of the monkeypox strain currently spreading has been around 1 per cent.
While patients typically recover within two to four weeks, a small percentage of those infected can fall seriously ill or even die. Those particularly vulnerable to complications are young children, pregnant women or immunocompromised individuals.
The risk to the general public remains low given that transmission of the infection requires close physical or prolonged contact.
Given these reasons, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in a written parliamentary reply on 4 July said monkeypox is unlikely to become a global pandemic like COVID-19.
"Unlike COVID-19 vaccination, mass population-wide vaccination with the smallpox vaccine is not recommended as a preventive strategy for monkeypox, in line with international recommendations and the global response thus far," Ong wrote.
Although the smallpox vaccine is up to 85 per cent effective at preventing monkeypox, it has potentially severe side effects, according to Ong.
For the general population, the risks of complications outweigh the benefits, because they are at low risk of being infected, he added.
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