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Electron micrograph of the monkeypox virus

Monkeypox is a viral disease that can be transmitted among humans and a number of other animals.[1] Symptoms include fever; swollen lymph nodes; and rashes on the face, hands, feet, genitals and body, and around the eyes and mouth.[2] These rashes will turn into blisters and then scabs which will later fall off.[3] These symptoms begin to appear five to twenty-one days after exposure and last for two to four weeks.[4]

People infected by the monkeypox virus may have mild symptoms or none at all.[5][6] However, other cases may be severe, especially in children, pregnant women, and people who are immunocompromised. The risk of death when infected ranges from 0% to 11%, depending on the monkeypox type and location in the world.[7] Scabs from monkeypox may leave dark scars after recovery.[8]


Monkeypox is a zoonotic poxvirus infection, which means that the pathogen that causes it jumped from an animal to a human.[9] The disease is caused by the monkeypox virus, a species of double-stranded DNA virus that belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus in the family Poxviridae. This virus was first identified in 1958 by Danish virologist Preben von Magnus in Copenhagen, Denmark.[10] Von Magnus observed the virus in crab-eating macaque monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) that were being used as laboratory animals.

The virus is neither a direct ancestor nor a direct descendant of the variola virus, which causes smallpox, even though monkeypox is similar to smallpox.[11] Diagnosis of the virus can be confirmed through a DNA test of a lesion.

There are two types of monkeypox, the West African type and the Central African (Congo basin) type. The West African type is less virulent and less severe than the Central African type.[12]

Monkeypox may be transmitted from animals to humans by handling infected meat or through bites and scratches. Meanwhile, humans may get it from other humans through exposure to body fluids, contact with contaminated objects and small droplets, and possibly through airborne transmission.[13]

A 1998 study found that the smallpox vaccine was 85% effective in preventing infection and reducing the severity of monkeypox.[14] However, the disease has no known cure. Nevertheless, antiviral drugs such as cidofovir and tecovirimat, as well as vaccinia immune globulin – made from the pooled blood of individuals who have been inoculated with the smallpox vaccine – have been used in monkeypox outbreaks.[15] Measures against monkeypox include frequent handwashing and avoiding contact with ill people and animals.

2022 Monkeypox Outbreak

The 2022 global monkeypox outbreak was confirmed in May 2022.[16] The initial cases were recorded in the United Kingdom, with the first case detected on 6 May 2022 in a person with travel history that includes Nigeria, where the disease is endemic.[17] The ongoing outbreak is the first time that the disease has spread widely outside of Central and West Africa. Cases have since been recorded in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. On 23 July, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).[18] As of 2 August, 25,436 cases have been recorded in nearly 80 countries.[19]

Monkeypox in the Philippines

On 29 July, almost three months after the 2022 monkeypox outbreak was confirmed by the World Health Organization, the Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) announced the detection of the first occurrence of the disease in the country. It was a 31-year-old Filipino national who arrived from abroad on 19 July.[20] The agency said the case was tested and confirmed positive for monkeypox through reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) performed at the DOH Research Institute for Tropical Medicine on 28 July. At the time of the announcement, the patient had been discharged but was undergoing strict isolation and monitoring at home while recovering. Close contacts of the patient were also made to undergo quarantine.

On 31 July 2022, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that a Filipino based in Singapore had been infected with monkeypox.[21] Singapore’s Ministry of Health said the Filipino patient was a 31-year-old male, who tested positive on 25 July. The ministry said the patient came down with a fever on 21 July and subsequently developed rashes on his face and body. By the time the case was publicized, the patient’s condition was already stable.

On 1 August, the Department of Health said not all Filipinos need to be vaccinated against monkeypox. DOH officer-in-charge Ma. Rosario Vergeire said “high-risk individuals” will be prioritized for the vaccine, given the limited supply. [22]

On 3 August, Vergeire announced the country was not going to close borders as a measure against the spread of monkeypox, saying doing so would be “irrational” as the disease is different from COVID-19 in terms of transmissibility.[23] The DOH reiterated its call for observance of health protocols, such as disinfection and physical distancing.



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