Singapore reports first case of rare monkeypox virus

WEDDING VICTUALS::The ministry said that the patient might have eaten bushmeat — a possible source of the disease — at a wedding in Nigeria

Reuters, SINGAPORE

Sat, May 11, 2019 - Page 6

Singapore has reported its first case of the rare monkeypox virus brought in by a Nigerian man who authorities said might have been infected by bushmeat he ate at a wedding.

Monkeypox, a virus similar to human smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980, does not spread easily from person to person, but can in rare cases be fatal.

Human monkeypox infections have only been documented three times outside of Africa: in the US, the UK and Israel, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The Singaporean Ministry of Health (MOH) late on Thursday said in a statement that the infected patient was a 38-year-old Nigerian who arrived in Singapore late last month.

“While risk of spread is low, MOH is taking precautions,” the ministry said, adding that ongoing investigations suggested that 23 persons had been identified as being in close contact with the patient while he was in Singapore.

Authorities said that prior to his arrival in Singapore, the man attended a wedding in Nigeria where he might have eaten bushmeat, which could be the source of the virus transmission.

Bushmeat, which can be chimpanzee, gorilla, antelope, birds or rodent, is a staple of some African diets.

Monkeypox typically lasts for two to four weeks, starting as a fever and headache before progressing through to small bumps called pustules that spread over the body.

Sporadic human cases of monkeypox have been reported in west and central Africa since the 1970s, and in 2003, the first cases outside of Africa were reported in the US.

In September last year, Britain reported its first cases — all linked to travel in Nigeria.