MANILA, July 30 (Mabuhay) — Malacañang on Friday expressed concern over the detection of first case of monkeypox in the Philippines.

“This is not particularly fatal but it is of concern,” said Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles in a Palace press briefing.

This, after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the first case of monkeypox in the country, involving a 31-year-old Filipino who returned to the country from an overseas trip last July 19.

The reverse transcription– polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result conducted Thursday showed that the unnamed patient is positive for monkeypox, said DOH officer-in-charge (OIC) Undersecretary for Public Health Services Team Beverly Ho.

The patient is observing strict isolation and monitoring at home, Ho said.

Despite the discovery of monkeypox in the country, Cruz-Angeles said the DOH is on top of the situation.

“So, the primary concern is to get the information out so that people will be aware, but also to be aware that the systems of DOH are in place,” she said.

Cruz-Angeles also allayed public fear, stressing that monkeypox is “not the same” as the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“First of all, it’s only one case, number one. Number two, as you can see, it does not affect the entire population. Number three, this is not like Covid that can be spread by air very easily and could possibly be fatal,” she said.

Monkeypox virus is transmitted with lesions, body fluids, and respiratory droplets, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Included among the primary transmission is intimate skin to skin contact, (including sexually transmitted) as health authorities emphasize the importance of hand washing and avoid contact with suspect cases.

Upon detection of the recent case, the DOH immediately quarantined the person.

The symptoms of the disease include fever, intense headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, swollen lymph nodes and a skin rash or lesions.

The WHO said vaccination against smallpox may help stop the monkeypox virus transmission. (MNS)

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