Disease Control Department: No Higher Alert on Monkeypox

On Monday, the Thai government decided not to raise the alert level on monkeypox as health officials are confident they can contain the virus.

The director of the Department of Disease Control’s epidemiology division Chakrarat Pittayawonganon said that monkeypox would not be declared another serious communicable disease, arguing that increasing the surveillance and prevention measures across the country would be enough.

According to Dr. Chakrarat, the nature of monkeypox does not fit in the Communicable Disease Act’s definition.

After a meeting on monkeypox’s status, Dr. Chakrarat stated: “Serious communicable diseases must have severe symptoms and be spread easily and quickly.”

Dr. Chakrarat said that the medical experts who participated in the meeting had confidence in the health system and personnel. Therefore, they believed that they could control monkeypox infections.

On Thursday, Thailand announced it had detected the first monkeypox case after a 27-year-old Nigerian tourist tested positive in Phuket. The foreign national was arrested and admitted to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, after fleeing the kingdom and illegally crossing the border into the neighboring country on Friday.

Cambodian Health Ministry’s Secretary of State and spokeswoman O Vandin said the patient was in good health. Local officials have launched an investigation to trace people who have been in close contact with the Nigerian man, including five linked to his escape, but none have caught the disease, the Khmer Times informed on Sunday.

Yesterday, the Public Health Ministry reported that a committee of medical experts would meet to decide whether to raise the alert level for monkeypox after the World Health Organization declared the disease a global emergency.

On Sunday, the WHO said monkeypox was “A Public Health Emergency of International Concern” and called on all countries to find effective methods to cope with the situation without stigmatizing target groups.

However, Thai authorities have urged people to remain calm and not panic, saying the country is ready to deal with monkeypox infections.

Meanwhile, health officials have been deployed at airports and border checkpoints to monitor and screen arrivals to detect potential cases and prevent the disease spread.