Health Officials Monitor 12 People for Possible Monkeypox Exposure

Twelve people are under surveillance after traveling with a person who tested positive for monkeypox, Thai health officials said.

On Monday, Department of Disease Control’s epidemiology director Chakarat Pittayawonganon said the 12 people were passengers or attendants on the same flight as the person diagnosed with monkeypox.

All have been asymptomatic for a week but will be monitored by qualified health personnel until the disease’s incubation period finishes on day 21.

According to Dr. Chakarat, the confirmed case reportedly transited through the country for at least two hours while en route to Australia after traveling from Eastern Europe. The person received the diagnosis after developing symptoms in Australia.

Dr. Chakarat insisted that Thailand has not logged its first case so far.

However, the number of confirmed cases worldwide has continued to rise. Nearly 500 people have been diagnosed with monkeypox in 32 countries until Sunday, including 406 confirmed infections and 88 suspected cases.

Spain had the most cases (139), followed by England (101), Portugal (74), Canada (63), Germany (22), and the United States (13).

Endemic to Central Africa, monkeypox is not considered a dangerous communicable disease. However, some countries have classified it as a communicable disease justifying surveillance.

It can cause several symptoms, including sore throat, fever, headache, body aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, blisters, rash, and scabs.

Thai health officials have been monitoring whether arrivals exhibit such symptoms, with careful attention to visitors or residents traveling from African countries and other nations where the virus is not endemic but has been detected.

The latest report from the World Health Organization said there were confirmed and suspected cases in 23 countries where the monkeypox virus is not endemic. It explained that any case detected in a non-endemic country could be considered an outbreak.

If monkeypox appears simultaneously in several non-endemic countries, there could have been undetected transmission for some time or recent amplifying events, the report added.

Authorities must also monitor people who have been in close contact with wild animals and monkeys imported from Africa.