No monkeypox in Thailand so far but risk groups urged to self-monitor

SUNDAY, MAY 29, 2022

The Disease Control Department (DCD) said that as of Sunday, no monkeypox cases had been detected in Thailand. However, the department’s emergency centre urged vigilance among at-risk communities, including gay men.

DCD director-general Dr Opas Karnkawinpong said samples from a suspected monkeypox case tested negative at Medical Services Department and Chulalongkorn Hospital laboratories.

He said the suspected case was simply infected with Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and would be discharged from Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute after a day or two of treatment.

On Saturday, the DCD emergency operations centre issued an update on the global outbreak of monkeypox based on the latest World Health Organisation report.

The update said surveillance should be stepped up in risk groups, especially gay men.

While anyone can contract monkeypox through close contact with an infected person, countries where the disease is now spreading are reporting a higher proportion of cases among communities of gay men.

The DCD centre recommended the government step up public awareness campaigns among risk groups, giving them information on how to avoid infection and monitor for symptoms.

Symptoms of monkeypox infection include fever, headache, swollen lymph glands and a rash.

A surge of arrivals from at-risk countries following easing of travel restrictions has triggered concern that monkeypox will soon be imported to Thailand. The disease has so far been detected in more than 20 countries across the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Arrivals from these countries are now being screened for symptoms at Thai airports, where they are also handed “health beware” notices.