MANILA – The 10 close contacts of the first monkeypox case in the country are still undergoing the required quarantine period.
“And [they] have remained asymptomatic,” the Department of Health told reporters on Thursday in a Viber message.
On July 29, the DOH reported the first monkeypox case – a 31-year-old Filipino who arrived from overseas on July 19.
“To date, there has been no new case of monkeypox in the country,” the DOH said.
The World Health Organization has declared monkeypox as a public health emergency of international concern.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared public health emergency over America because it is one of the countries with the most number of monkeypox cases.
Unlike coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), monkeypox is spread through close or intimate contact with someone infected.
In a televised public briefing Thursday, former National Task Force Against Covid-19 adviser, Dr. Ted Herbosa, said the government had asked the American government if it can supply the country vaccines against monkeypox.
“Dalawang klaseng brand ito, ito iyong smallpox vaccine. Hindi ito specific sa monkeypox pero nakita nilang epektibo ito sa pag-prevent kapag na-expose ka, pag-prevent ng pag-develop ng monkeypox, (These are two brands, smallpox vaccine. This is not specific to monkeypox, but it is seen effective when you’re exposed, to prevent developing monkeypox),” he said.
Herbosa said the jabs are not given to everyone as these are administered post-exposure to monkeypox cases. Post-exposure vaccine or post-exposure vaccination protects uninfected individuals from having the infection they have been exposed to.
“So, hindi pa tayo nakaka-acquire nito, hindi pa rin nakarehistro sa ating FDA. So, I hope our Department of Health will try to acquire some of these, para sa mga mangangailangan nito dito sa Pilipinas (We have not acquired them, they are not yet registered with the FDA [Food and Drug Administration]. So, I hope our Department of Health will try to acquire some of these in case we need them here in the Philippines),” he said.
He added that at present, there is no community transmission of monkeypox in the country.
On Wednesday night, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. presided over a meeting with DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire and Director for Epidemiology Bureau Alethea De Guzman to discuss updates on the country’s Covid-19 situation and the preparations for preventing the spread of monkeypox and dengue.
Marcos earlier allayed fears on the monkeypox virus, saying it is "not as scary as Covid." (with reports from Azer Parrocha/PNA)