UPDATE: Health officials test 19 for monkeypox after contact with fugitive


All 19 people who had close contact with Thailand’s first ever recorded monkeypox case have all tested negative for the monkeypox virus. All 19 people will isolate for a total of 21 days and will then be tested again to confirm they have not contracted the virus.

The 27 year old Nigerian national travelled to Thailand eight months ago and presented with monkeypox symptoms at a private hospital in Phuket on July 16. He was told to isolate himself at home while awaiting the test result, which came back positive for the monkeypox virus on July 18. The man refused to return to the hospital for treatment and was later found to have escaped to Cambodia, where he was found in Phnom Penh.

Yesterday, Thailand raised the country’s monkeypox alert to the national level following the World Health Organisation’s declaration that monkeypox had become a global emergency.



After a Nigerian man fled Thailand upon being diagnosed with monkeypox and was subsequently captured in Cambodia, authorities have been tracking down anyone in contact with him to test them for the disease. Health officials have identified 19 high-risk people who came in close contact with the man and have now tested all of them for monkeypox.

Results are still pending, according to the Phuket Provincial Health chief, but specimens have been sent to the lab for testing. They expect all 19 pending specimens to have results within 3 days, but they have so far received two tests back with a negative diagnosis.

All 19 people have been placed in isolation under the care and monitoring of health officials. They will be checked up each week for 3 weeks after which they will be retested.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian man who fled Thailand, believed to have swam across the border into Cambodia, will remain in the hospital in Cambodia for treatment and may face punishment for illegally entering the country, according to the assistant commissioner of the Cambodian police, who noted that this is standard international practice.

While Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul has urged people not to panic, saying that he doesn’t think tighter restrictions are necessary, Thailand has now upgraded monkeypox to a national alert level, following the World Health Organisation’s decision to elevate the spreading disease to its highest level of Global Health Emergency.

The minister said that travellers from high-risk countries do not need to be blocked, but that screening and monitoring regulations similar to what was used for Covid-19 should be put in place. Anutin said that Thailand is fully prepared for an outbreak, with the Department of Disease Control upgrading emergency facilities and with medical locations at the ready.

Public health officials also reassure the people of Thailand that monkeypox is not the same as Covid, being far less transmittable, and suggested that worried people need only adhere to the safety measures already in place.

While health officials wait for the final test results for the remaining 17 high-risk people, the provincial health chief of Sa Kaeo, the border province where the Nigerian man crossed into Cambodia, confirmed that they had not identified any high-risk people that may have interacted with the man as he fled the country through their province.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Phuket NewsThailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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