DOH 7 probes potential monkeypox case

DOH
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THE Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas is investigating a potential monkeypox case in the region following the death of a 27-year-old male resident from Negros Oriental.

The suspected monkeypox case was identified on May 29, 2024, with the patient passing away on June 2.

This information was shared by doctor Eugenia Mercedes Cañal, the regional epidemiologist for the Department of Health Region 7, during a press conference on Friday, June 7.

Mpox, which is formerly known as monkeypox, is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus, leading to a painful rash, swollen lymph nodes and fever.

Typical symptoms of mpox include a skin rash or mucosal lesions lasting from two to four weeks, along with fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes.

Mpox can spread to humans through direct contact with an infected person, contaminated materials, or infected animals.

According to a report from the Philippine News Agency, the deceased was identified as a resident of Barangay Masulog in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental.

“Sakit sa tiyan una ang na feel sa patient, rashes sa skin and later on nagpa check up”, said Cañal.

(The patient first felt stomach pain, then developed skin rashes, and later on went for a check-up.)

The local government unit of Negros Oriental cordoned off the area where the deceased patient live.

The patient’s rashes resembled chickenpox, but they can’t rule out a full-blown varicella infection or chickenpox since both conditions present similar rashes. Only experts, particularly dermatologists, can distinguish that it isn’t chickenpox. The confirmation can only come from the results of the swab sample.

“As of now, it’s safe to say that suspected monkey pox pa to siya,” said Cañal.

Cañal said that the patient was initially examined at a district hospital but was later transferred to a tertiary hospital, where he eventually passed away.

He said that they are still conducting confirmatory tests to determine if the patient died from monkeypox.

If the test results confirm monkeypox, all necessary measures are already in place. The local government has done its part by conducting contact tracing and educating the community.

But Cañal expressed concerns about the decision to cordon off the deceased patient’s residence, highlighting that monkeypox is only spread through direct contact with an infected individual.

She said that the primary mode of human-to-human transmission is through men having sex with men, and the deceased patient had denied engaging in sexual contact with other men.

The difference is that monkeypox causes lymph node swelling, while chickenpox does not. When diagnosing chickenpox, it’s important to note that monkeypox lesions not only contain fluid but also pus.

Cañal added that it is treatable and curable as she referred to the successful treatment of the country’s first confirmed monkeypox case, as long as it is diagnosed at an early stage.

The Philippines confirmed its first case of monkeypox on July 28, 2022, in Metro Manila. It involved a 31-year-old Filipino who had recently returned from abroad. / CAV

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