Singapore confirms imported case of monkeypox after flight attendant develops fever and rashes
SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed one imported case of monkeypox infection in Singapore.
The patient is a 42-year-old British national who works as a flight attendant. MOH said the man was in Singapore between Jun 15 and Jun 17, and again on Jun 19 as he flew in and out of Singapore.
He tested positive for monkeypox on Jun 20.
He is currently warded in at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and his condition is stable. Contact tracing is ongoing, said MOH.
The man had onset of headache on Jun 14 and fever on Jun 16. These symptoms subsequently resolved, and he then developed skin rashes on Jun 19.
MOH said the man sought medical attention via teleconsultation on the night of Jun 19, and was conveyed to NCID on Jun 20 for further assessment.
“Contact tracing is ongoing for the affected flights and for the duration of his stay in Singapore. During this period, he had largely remained in his hotel room, except to visit a massage establishment, and eat at three food establishments on Jun 16.
“In general, the risk of transmission to visitors at these locations is low, as data has shown that monkeypox transmits through close physical or prolonged contact. All four locations visited by the case are undergoing cleaning and disinfection,” said MOH.
As of Jun 21, 13 close contacts have been identified. MOH said all close contacts will be placed on quarantine for 21 days since their last contact with the case.
“In addition, two low-risk contacts have been placed on phone surveillance. Persons under phone surveillance will receive daily phone calls during the 21-day period to monitor for any onset of symptoms. If suspected of being infected, they will be immediately conveyed to the NCID for further evaluation and isolation to prevent further transmission,” added the ministry.
Monkeypox is a viral disease that is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus.
Infected individuals would typically experience fever, headache, muscle ache, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, lethargy and skin rash.
"The disease is usually self-limiting, with most patients recovering within two to three weeks. In some cases, however, the virus can cause serious complications. Individuals who are at higher risk of severe illness include young children, pregnant women or immunocompromised individuals," said MOH.
MOH added that human-to-human transmission is generally uncommon, but can occur via exposure to respiratory droplets or direct physical contact with the blood, body fluid or lesion material from infected individuals or contaminated materials.
The incubation period ranges from five to 21 days. Those with the infection are generally infectious from onset of fever until the skin lesions have scabbed over.
Given the evolving global situation, MOH advised members of the public, especially travellers, to maintain vigilance and take the following precautions:
- Maintain a high standard of personal hygiene, including frequent hand washing after going to the toilet, or when hands are soiled.
- Avoid direct contact with skin lesions of infected living or dead persons or animals, as well as objects that may have become contaminated with infectious fluids, such as soiled clothing or linens used by an infected person.
- Avoid contact with wild animals that could harbour the virus, and consumption of bush meat.
- Seek immediate medical attention if they develop any disease symptoms compatible with monkeypox. Such symptoms include the sudden onset of high fever, swollen lymph nodes and rash. These individuals should inform their doctor of their recent travel history, if any.