June 23, 2022 09:53
Korea reported its first case of monkeypox on Wednesday as the virus spreads around the world.
The patient had a headache a day before arriving in Korea, felt tired and displayed skin lesions. He voluntarily reported to health authorities at Incheon International Airport and was taken to hospital.
Health officials classified eight out of 49 people who were aboard the same plane as mid-level risks and 41 as low-level risks.
Another suspected case earlier this week was found to be chicken pox.
Experts say the chances of monkeypox developing into a pandemic are low since it is only transmitted by very close contact such as sex but stressed the need for vigilance. The confirmed infection, the first case in East Asia, has nonetheless increased jitters in Korea.
The only way of detecting the virus is when patients report themselves, and it is difficult to screen people arriving from abroad.
The first infection outside the endemic countries in Central and West Africa was a Briton who traveled to Nigeria in May, and the virus had been spreading primarily in Europe. But as of Tuesday it had infected more than 3,000 people in 41 countries.
Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease that is similar to smallpox and was discovered in a monkey in 1958. The first case of human infection was detected in Congo in 1970, and it has since spread to Central and West Africa.
It causes rashes, headaches, muscle pain, shivers and fatigue before dramatic lesions and scabs form on the skin. The pustules usually start in the face and progress to the limbs and torso and feel itchy and painful.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said prominent symptoms are rashes around the genitals or anus and intestinal infections.
Monkeypox is spread through body fluids by sexual intercourse or kissing and other close contact. That makes it far less infectious than coronavirus. Patients usually recover after two to four weeks, but some cases lead to more severe symptoms. It has a latency period of five to 21 days.
Only one fatality has been reported so far by the World Health Organization, which said the threat of infection among the general populace remains low. The KCDC also urged the public to remain calm and said handwashing and wearing masks provide effective protection.
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