KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 — Human-to-human transmission of monkeypox is unlikely, the Health Ministry said today after an imported case was diagnosed in Singapore.
“The risk of the virus spreading to Malaysia and people being infected is low unless they have a history of contact with infected animals (or are) among travellers from endemic countries in Western and Central Africa, especially Nigeria,” Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye told Free Malaysia Today.
He reportedly said monkeypox — which produces symptoms like fever with lymph node enlargement, fatigue, skin rashes, and headache — had a 10 per cent fatality rate.
Dr Lee urged travellers visiting Central and Western Africa to maintain personal hygiene and to avoid eating bushmeat, a possible source of transmission for the monkeypox virus, or contact with wild animals.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health announced yesterday its first case of monkeypox. The patient is a 38-year-old Nigerian who had allegedly consumed bushmeat in Nigeria.
Singaporean authorities however said the risk of contagion was low.
Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus transmitted to humans from animals, mainly in central and western Africa where it is endemic. Infection occurs when a person comes in close contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or lesions of infected animals such as rodents, squirrels and monkeys.