No cases of monkeypox in Thailand
There are no known cases of monkeypox in Thailand, Dr Yong Poovorawan, head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University, said on Thursday.
He made the assertion to allay fears over the possible spread of the rare disease in this country, following reports of confirmed and suspected cases in the UK, Canada, Spain and Portugal this week. Monkeypox is not a new disease and there is a vaccine for it, said Dr Yong.
Unlike the transmission of smallpox, which is airborne through droplets, monkeypox is transmitted when a person comes into contact with the virus through contaminated body fluids or wounds, he said.
However, since the monkeypox virus is carried by rodents, and infected patients in other countries usually had a history of having been in direct contact with strange animals, the doctor said he has advised against allowing exotic pets from overseas into the country. No monkeypox virus has been detected in local monkeys in Thailand before, he said.
The best way to protect oneself from monkeypox is almost the same as preventing the spread of Covid-19, the doctor said, adding that handwashing and personal hygiene were necessary.
Anan Jongkaewwattana, a virologist with National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (Biotec), meanwhile, said a new challenge now facing virologists around the world is that infected people can spread it while not showing any symptoms.
That explained why the recent detection of seven cases in the UK has sparked concerns in other parts of the world, he said.
Canada is investigating more than a dozen suspected cases, Spain has logged 23 suspected cases and Portugal has confirmed five cases, according to reports.