August 1, 2022

No evidence of further spread of monkeypox in S’pore from reported cases

By brit

SINGAPORE – There is no evidence of further spread of monkeypox in the community from the reported cases.

As at Sunday (July 31), Singapore had a total of 11 cases reported, with 45 close contacts identified, Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary said in Parliament on Monday.

All close contacts who remained in Singapore are well and 11 have completed their quarantine. Thus far, none of the local contacts developed symptoms compatible with monkeypox nor tested positive for monkeypox, he added.

Close contacts were offered the smallpox vaccine as post-exposure prophylaxis, which is reported to be 85 per cent effective at preventing monkeypox infection. Post-exposure prophylaxis means taking medicine to prevent monkeypox after a possible exposure.

To date, 11 close contacts have taken the vaccine.

“However, and as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), mass population-wide vaccination… is currently not recommended as a preventive strategy for monkeypox as the benefits do not outweigh the risk,” Dr Janil said.

Individuals who are at higher risk of infections, including healthcare and laboratory personnel, due to exposure to confirmed cases or their specimen may be offered the smallpox vaccines to protect them from getting infected.

There is an adequate supply of vaccines, said Dr Janil.

Based on available international data, the current monkeypox outbreak generally causes a mild and self-limiting illness. With three deaths out of more than 20,900 cases reported outside of Africa, the case fatality rate currently stands at around 0.01 per cent, or approximately one in 10,000.

As the Ministry of Health (MOH) learns more about the disease, it will continually review and calibrate its response measures to be commensurate with the public health risk.

In line with the WHO’s recommendations, MOH has also provided appropriate advice and precautionary measures to the public, including the at-risk population, to raise awareness and reduce the risk of onward transmission.

“MOH will continue to monitor the monkeypox situation closely and further calibrate our preparedness and response measures, including vaccination strategies, as needed,” Dr Janil said.