(PNA photo by Jess M. Escaros Jr.)

MANILA – Although no cases of monkeypox have been detected in the country so far, a disease expert advised continuing Covid-19 health protocols as they may help prevent the virus now spreading across Europe and Africa.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Salvana said Tuesday that wearing masks and adhering to other health protocols, like frequent handwashing, can prevent transmission and contraction of the monkeypox virus.

Salvana said the disease is less contagious than Covid-19.

Bagama’t may nakikita nga taong pag-akyat ng mga kaso around the world, iyong mga ginagawa natin against Covid-19 will actually also work for monkeypox. Iyong paggamit natin ng mask dahil may droplet transmission din iyan, hugas po tayo ng kamay, and of course, always be vigilant lalo na doon sa mga taong nanggaling sa places na nakapag-report na ng monkeypox (Although we have seen an increase in cases around the world, what we are doing to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will actually work for monkeypox. Wear masks because of droplet transmission, let's wash our hands, and of course, always be vigilant especially against those who came from places that have already reported monkeypox cases),” Salvana said at the "Laging Handa" public briefing

In case of symptoms, particularly vesicles, rashes or blisters that appear to be filled with fluid like chickenpox, Salvana advised going to a doctor.

Salvana said the government, through the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, has done studies about monkeypox.

They are also looking at commercial testing kits for monkeypox that the government can purchase, once needed.

“And the last piece there is also kung makakapag-procure tayo ng mga smallpox vaccine na alam natin ay mabisa sa monkeypox (if we can also procure smallpox vaccines which we know are also effective against monkeypox),” Salvana added.

Salvana said there is no indication of a need to widely vaccinate people especially because monkeypox may only be transmitted if there are already symptoms, unlike Covid-19 where asymptomatic transmission happens.

“So, very important we just stick to the plan for Covid-19 and the monkeypox, madadamay na rin siya doon sa ating mga (may also be prevented by these) precautions and at the same time we already have the tests that can be used to detect monkeypox,” he said. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) Meeting of the International Health Regulations regarding the multi-country monkeypox outbreak on June 23 said the virus is not yet considered a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The WHO report said since May, some 3,040 cases have been reported in 47 countries, with the majority of the infected gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men in urban areas and are clustered social and sexual networks. (PNA)