MANILA, May 21 (Mabuhay) — No cases of the monkeypox virus have been detected in the Philippines amid reports of cases in other countries, the Department of Health (DOH) announced Friday.

“In the interest of protecting the general public from both diseases and misinformation, the DOH provides this advisory about the recent cases of monkeypox found in European countries, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. To date, monkeypox has not been detected within the Philippines or at its borders,” the DOH said in an advisory.

Citing information from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Health Department explained monkeypox is a viral disease coming from animals and occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa.

Its symptoms include fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes which may lead to a range of medical complications.

Monkeypox is usually transmitted via close contact with an infected person or an animal, or even through contaminated materials. While it may look like smallpox, it is less contagious and causes less severe illness.

Reports from Agence-France Presse said cases of the rare viral disease were detected in several countries including Canada, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Europe, and North America.

To prevent transmission, the DOH advised the public to adhere to minimum public health standards including mask wearing, observing physical distancing, and maintaining good hygiene.

In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that he informed medical officers of the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) to be on guard for the viral disease.

“Aking nang sinabihan yung quarantine medical officers na bantayan ito… paigtingin na yung mga bansang natukoy ang Central Africa, Western Africa at Canada kung saan may malaking bilang ay dapat iniscreen nang maiigi,” he said. (MNS)

READ NEXT: SoKor to resume tourist visa issuance in June