Singapore has recorded a total of 11 cases of monkeypox infections as of July 31, and there is "no evidence of further spread in the community from the reported cases," Senior Minister of State for Health, Janil Puthucheary, said in Parliament on Aug. 1.
He was responding to a parliamentary question filed by PAP MP Lim Wee Kiak on whether there is new evidence of local community spread of the virus and the number of smallpox vaccines administered.
45 close contacts remained in Singapore “all well”
Janil said that the 11 monkeypox cases reported in Singapore were not linked with each other, adding that they had "mild symptoms" and were "clinically stable".
"They were promptly isolated until non-infectious," he added.
Contact tracing was initiated and 45 close contacts were identified.
According to Janil, none of the local contacts had developed "symptoms compatible with monkeypox" or tested positive for the virus, and added that 11 of the close contacts had exited quarantine.
As such, he reassured that there is "no evidence of further spread in the community from the reported cases".
Close contacts administered smallpox vaccine
Smallpox vaccine, which is 85 per cent effective in preventing monkeypox infection, has been administered locally.
As of Aug. 1, Janil revealed that 11 of those identified to be close contacts of an infected case have taken up the vaccine as Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).
He added that mass population-wide vaccination using the smallpox vaccine is currently "not recommended" by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a preventive strategy against monkeypox as the “benefits do not outweigh the risks”.
Healthcare workers, lab personnel may be offered smallpox vaccine
Even so, Janil shared that individuals who are at a higher risk of infection due to close contact confirm cases or their specimen may be offered the smallpox vaccine "to protect them from getting infected".
These groups of individuals include healthcare workers and laboratory personnel, he added.
Janil also mentioned that there is an adequate supply of smallpox vaccines.
Current outbreak “mild and self-limiting”
According to international data cited by Janil, the current monkeypox outbreak "generally causes a mild and self-limiting illness".
Globally, out of more than 20,900 cases reported outside of Africa, there have only been three deaths, he said.
The case fatality rate currently stands at 0.01 per cent, or approximately one in 10,000, Janil added.
MOH provided “appropriate advice” to public and at-risk population
Janil also reiterated that the Ministry of Health (MOH) will continue to review and calibrate its response to be commensurated with the public health risk.
In line with WHO’s recommendations, MOH has also provided “appropriate advice and precautionary measures to the public, including the at-risk population” to raise awareness and reduce the risk of onward transmission, he added.
Earlier, MOH had also said it has been engaging those who are more at-risk through healthcare and community partners.
This group includes men who have sex with men who have recently had sex with new partners.
On top of that, Janil said that MOH will also continue to monitor the situation closely and further calibrate Singapore's preparedness and response measures, including vaccination strategies, as needed.
Top images via MCI YouTube and Jnzl's Photos