Health Ministry records two monkeypox cases in Malaysia

THE Health Ministry (MOH) today confirmed that there are two positive cases of monkeypox (mpox) recorded in the country.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan said that a confirmed case on July 26 involved a foreign man, while the second case was a local man who was a contact of the first mpox case and was confirmed positive for mpox on July 29.

“The first case involves a foreign man who has been living and working in Malaysia since April 2022. He has a history of travelling to a country with reported cases of mpox on July 6 this year and returned to Malaysia on July 10.

“He started showing symptoms on July 19, blisters started appearing on July 23 and he was isolated and was released on Aug 10 after making a full recovery without complications,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Radzi added that the second case, a local man, experienced symptoms while in quarantine because he was in contact with the index case had been ordered to undergo quarantine since July 27, and was confirmed positive on July 29.

“He is still in isolation and is in good health. All contacts of the first case have been identified and their health status monitored. No one experienced any symptoms except for the second case. The second case did not have any close contact,” he further added.

He noted that all travellers arriving from countries with reported mpox are advised to monitor their health status daily, including symptoms, for 21 days from the date of arrival in Malaysia.

“All medical practitioners have been urged to be sensitive to individuals with blister symptoms who turned up for treatment, especially among high-risk groups (key population).

“The history of the risk of close contact with individuals with symptoms of mpox infection must be obtained. For suspected mpox cases, blister swabs, oral swabs and blood or serum samples can be sent to a laboratory that provides pox virus detection test services.”

Moreover, Dr Radzi stated that currently there are 10 laboratories—eight government laboratories and two private laboratories—that provide pox detection test services and the nearest health office should be notified of suspected cases through the e-Notification system so that further investigation and control measures can be carried out by the district health offices.

Mpox is a type of infection caused by the pox virus, and infection occurs through close contact with individuals who have symptoms and signs of pox infection, according to him.

“The incubation period, before an individual starts showing symptoms, is between five and 21 days from the date of exposure. Individuals tested positive for pox infection can infect others a day before symptoms appear, until all the blisters have completely dried up. Usually, mpox cases will heal on their own without any specific treatment.

“The symptoms of mpox are fever, fatigue, headache and a maculopapular rash, which starts on the face and then spreads to the palms and soles, followed by other parts of the body. Patients may also experience fatigue, pain in the back or joints and swollen lymph nodes.” – Aug 25, 2023


Main photo credit: Bernama

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