Police Searching for Missing Nigerian Monkeypox Patient

Thai authorities have launched an operation to find the country’s first monkeypox case after a foreign tourist tested positive for the disease.

On Friday, Phuket deputy governor Pichet Panapong said a 27-year-old Nigerian man was being tracked down after being diagnosed with monkeypox.

His name was later revealed by local media to be Osmond Chihazirim Nzerem.

According to Phuket immigration’s superintendent Pol Col Thanet Sukchai, it is believed that the Nigerian national is likely to still be in the province’s Patong beach area.

Meanwhile, disease investigation agents have traced 154 people who had been in contact with the tourist, but none have tested positive for the disease so far.

Pol Col Thanet has urged Thailand’s residents and visitors to remain calm and not to panic, insisting that the kingdom’s health officials were ready to control the infectious disease.

Phuket public health office’s chief, Dr. Kusak Kukiartkul, explained that the detected case was linked to the African monkeypox A2 variant, which does not produce severe symptoms.

The Nigerian man tested positive after seeking treatment at a local hospital as an outpatient. Doctors suspected that he had contracted the disease and ordered blood tests.

He was not hospitalized because his condition was not severe. Instead, the medical staff recommended that he remain in quarantine.

After the results confirmed that the tourist had monkeypox on July 18, the hospital tried to contact the patient to provide proper treatment. However, he could not be reached because his phone was turned off, Dr. Kukiart revealed.

A group of policemen was sent to try to find the patient. Upon arriving at his condominium room, officers discovered that the man had left the condo to go to Patong beach.

The Nigerian national reportedly checked in a local hotel around 9:00 p.m. on July 18.

On Thursday night, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) said the tourist, who arrived in Phuket from Nigeria, was confirmed to have gone to a private hospital for treatment. The patient experienced symptoms such as cough, sore throat, fever, a runny nose, rash, and lesions in his genital area.

Later, the DDC confirmed the PCR lab test by the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases Clinical Center’s first diagnosis that the tourist had monkeypox.

In response to the first monkeypox case detected in the country, the Public Health Ministry has ordered health officials to implement a surveillance and screening system to test people with symptoms and control potential transmissions.