Two months after health authorities set up an emergency center to watch out for the monkeypox virus, the country confirmed the first case yesterday on Phuket.
A 27-year-old Nigerian man who traveled from Nigeria to Phuket had shown symptoms for about a week including coughing, fever, sore throat, and a runny nose. He also reportedly suffered rashes and lesions in his genital area that spread to his body, arms, and face, according to Disease Control Director Opas Karnkawinpong
Lab tests confirmed Thursday the man had been infected with monkeypox.
Since the World Health Organization has not yet declared monkeypox a global health emergency, Opas said people should not worry or panic over the confirmed case. Health authorities have been “prepared” and closely monitored other potential monkeypox cases, he added.
Thailand in recent weeks has received an increasing influx of foreign tourists. Phuket Airport has reportedly welcomed nearly 20,000 arrivals per day – 8,000 domestic and 12,000 from abroad – according to Monchai Tanod, director of Phuket International Airport.
Monkeypox, a variant of the smallpox virus, became a global health concern in early May after it began spreading from a British national returning from Nigeria. Symptoms are similar to those of smallpox, though less severe, and the disease can be transmitted through skin contact.
An ongoing outbreak of the viral disease monkeypox was confirmed in May, beginning with a cluster of cases in the United Kingdom. The first confirmed case was traced to an individual with travel links to Nigeria, where the disease is endemic.
Over 15,000 monkeypox cases have been recorded in roughly 65 countries so far. Despite the outbreak being heavily concentrated in Europe, five fatalities linked to the disease have been reported in African countries.