Indonesia Reports First Monkeypox Case

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 20 Agustus 2022
Category: News
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Spokesperson of Ministry of Health Mohammad Syahril

Indonesia has confirmed its first monkeypox infection in a 27-year-old man with prior overseas travel.

“The patient is currently not in severe conditions. He has rashes on his face, palms, and feet. The patient doesn’t need to be hospitalized. Self-isolation is sufficient,” Spokesperson of Ministry of Health Mohammad Syahril said in a virtual press statement, Saturday (08/20).

Based on investigation, the patient traveled abroad on July 22 and arrived back in Jakarta on August 8.

The patient began to experience early symptoms of monkeypox on August 11 and after consulting with several health facilities, he was referred to a Ministry of Health-owned hospital on August 18 with PCR test results showing he tested positive on August 19.

Following the case, Syahril appealed to the public not to panic because the fatality rate of monkeypox is very low compared to COVID-19, adding there are currently 39,718 confirmed cases of monkeypox worldwide and 12 people who have died, or less than 0.001 percent of the total cases.

Monkeypox transmission is not as easy as COVID-19, he said.

“The transmission of monkeypox is through close contact,” Syahril added.

The case is currently followed up by Jakarta Health Service and Directorate of Disease Prevention and Control of the Ministry.

The Ministry has also carried out intensive monitoring at all entrances to the country, including from the air, sea, and land that are in direct routes with countries that have reported cases of monkeypox. There are around 89 countries with reported monkeypox cases in their countries.

The Government has also ordered all airlines and ports to improve vigilance in case of passengers with monkeypox symptoms.

Ministry of Health has also disseminated information and guideline regarding the disease to the community, health workers, and health care facilities.

Syahril added that health protocols are designed not only for COVID-19 but also for all infectious diseases, so he reminded the public to implement health protocols and to practice a clean and healthy lifestyle.

Syahril also underlined that currently PCR examination for monkeypox can only be done in national reference laboratory of the Health Development Policy Agency (BKPK) of the Ministry and the Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB) laboratory.

The Government, he added, is currently in the process of adding ten improved laboratories to carry out the examination. Several hospitals are also able to carry out the examination.

The Ministry has prepared 1,200 reagents for the examination.

“The PCR examination for monkeypox is different from that of COVID-19. It’s done by swabbing the rashes,” he said, adding that the patient does not need isolation room with negative pressure.

Syahril further said  that clinical care therapy for monkeypox should be fully optimized to relieve symptoms, manage complications, and prevent long-term sequelae.

Secondary bacterial infections, he said, should be treated as indicated. An antiviral known as tecovirimat developed for smallpox was licensed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for monkeypox in 2022 based on data on animal and human studies. Tecovirimat is not yet widely available. If used for patient care, tecovirimate should ideally be monitored in the context of clinical research with prospective data collection, he said.

On vaccination, Syahril stated that WHO has not provided a recommendation for mass vaccination against monkeypox. According to him, Indonesia is in the process of procuring vaccine and it must receive recommendation from the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM).

Syahril added that the monkeypox patient will recover on their own without additional infections or comorbidities.

For the record, monkeypox symptoms are similar to chickenpox symptoms, albeit milder. The symptoms begin with fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. The main difference between both is that monkeypox causes swelling of the lymph nodes whereas chickenpox does not.

Monkeypox is usually a self-limiting disease with symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. (PR of Ministry of Health/UN) (FI/EP)  

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