22nd June, 2022
South Korea has reported its first two suspected cases of monkey pox, public health officials said on Wednesday.
According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) two probable cases were found earlier on Tuesday and diagnostic tests were being conducted.
Meanwhile, their identities were withheld.
However, one of the individuals was admitted at the Incheon Medical Centre in Incheon, west of Seoul, at 9:40 p.m. on Tuesday, hospital officials said.
Yonhap reports that the person reportedly showed potential symptoms of the infectious disease while entering the country via Incheon International Airport.
The hospital has two beds designated for monkey pox cases.
“The person is isolated as a suspected case and will undergo a test,” an official said, declining to give further details.
The virus, traditionally confined to regions in Central and Western Africa, can cause symptoms that include fever, chills, rash and lesions.
The country has been vigilant against a potential inflow of monkey pox as an increasing number of countries had reported cases of the viral disease and international travel have increased following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.
Health authorities have designated monkey pox as a second-degree infectious disease out of a four-tier system.
Currently, 22 contagious diseases including COVID-19, cholera and chickenpox were included in the same category.
Officials said last week the government was seeking to import the antiviral drug tecovirimat for 500 people by July.
Monkey pox patients will be treated in isolation in specialised hospitals and a 21-day mandatory self-isolation period is being considered for those who have a high risk of transmission after being in close contact with monkey pox patients, health authorities said.