Singapore reports first case of rare monkeypox virus

A child affected by monkeypox, sits on his father’s legs while receiving treatment at the centre of the International medical NGO Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans frontieres – MSF), in Zomea Kaka, in the Lobaya region, in the Central African Republic on October 18, 2018. Monkeypox is a contagious disease, without remedy, which heals itself, but can kill if not treated in time. Since May 2018, the monkeypox virus, which spreads in tropical Africa, has become a “public health threat” in the Central African Republic, according to the Pasteur Institute of Bangui. Photo: CHARLES BOUESSEL/AFP
A child affected by monkeypox, sits on his father’s legs while receiving treatment at the centre of the International medical NGO Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans frontieres – MSF), in Zomea Kaka, in the Lobaya region, in the Central African Republic on October 18, 2018. Monkeypox is a contagious disease, without remedy, which heals itself, but can kill if not treated in time. Since May 2018, the monkeypox virus, which spreads in tropical Africa, has become a “public health threat” in the Central African Republic, according to the Pasteur Institute of Bangui. Photo: CHARLES BOUESSEL/AFP

Singapore has reported its first ever case of monkeypox, brought in by a Nigerian man thought to have contracted the rare virus by eating bushmeat at a wedding.

Symptoms in humans of monkeypox — which is endemic in parts of Central and Western Africa — include lesions, fever, muscle ache and chills.

Transmission is usually via close contact with infected animals such as rodents and monkeys and is limited between people. It is not normally fatal but has been in rare cases.

The man who brought in the virus arrived in Singapore on April 28, the city-state’s health ministry (MOH) said in a statement late Thursday.

The 38-year-old developed symptoms two days later and is currently isolated at an infectious disease centre in a stable condition, the ministry said.

Another 23 individuals who had been in close contact with the man have also been quarantined and will be monitored for 21 days.

“While risk of spread is low, MOH is taking precautions,” the ministry said.

Outside Africa, human moneypox infections had only been previously reported in the United States, Britain and Israel, according to the US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

Singapore, a tiny but affluent city-state dependent on external trade and tourism, has toughened measures against infectious diseases after it was hit hard by the 2003 SARS virus outbreak.

The disease killed 33 people in Singapore, inflicted major losses on the economy and hit the number of international visitors.

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