Health authorities today are searching Phuket for a 27-year-old Nigerian man infected with monkeypox.
One day after he was confirmed to be Thailand’s first known case of the infectious viral disease, the man can no longer be located, according to Koosak Kookiatkul, the island’s top health official.
Records found he entered Thailand in July 2021 and was staying around Patong beach ever since. He showed symptoms including a sore throat, rashes and lesions on July 9. On Saturday, the man was instructed to quarantine himself pending lab results, which came back positive.
On Tuesday, the man failed to show up for a hospital checkup. His phone could no longer be reached since then, Koosak added.
Phuket police chief Maj. Gen. Sermpan Sirikong said investigators reviewing CCTV footage found his last known whereabouts were at the condo he was staying, where he left a key at the lobby at 9pm on Wednesday.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the man should be apprehended as soon as possible to limit the spread of the disease. Anutin denounced the man for his “bad behavior” and said he could be charged with violating the Communicable Disease Act and be deported.
The Nigerian man came into close contact with at least two others who have tested negative for monkeypox but remain in quarantine.
Weerasak Lorthongkam, director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, said the man was infected with a West African variety of the disease, which is less severe. The initial protocol was to isolate him for 21 days.