Health ministry secretary of state Or Vandine has assured that there are no suspected or positive cases of monkeypox in Cambodia so far, but asked that everyone continue ensuring personal hygiene and preventive measures.
Vandine advised hospitals and health centres to monitor and report any suspicious cases, conduct inspections and strengthen disease surveillance systems in hospitals.
“We have to seriously check travellers entering Cambodia who have rashes, fever and have a history of travelling to any of the 10 African countries where the outbreak of monkeypox has occurred in endemic areas,” she said on May 23.
While urging people to call the 115 hotline if they encounter any suspected cases, she noted that more diseases are emerging around the world.
The possibility of human-to-human transmission was high due to “known or unknown” bacteria, viruses or parasites.
Therefore, a good measure of protection is for individuals to implement public health prevention on a daily basis.
“Monkeypox is another emerging public health concern in the world. Please continue to observe precautions to prevent possible transmission, even though no cases have been detected in Cambodia,” she said.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), monkeypox cases have been found in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the US and UK.
Vandine explained that the disease can be transmitted via direct physical contact including sexual intercourse, or close contact with people (and their belongings) who have the symptoms.
The high risk of infection is from close contact with patients who have ulcers, lesions, or sores. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her baby through the umbilical cord or from an infected parent to the baby during or after birth through skin-to-skin contact.
Monkeypox typically presents itself with a fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscular pain and rashes on the face, palms and soles of feet, mouth, genital areas and eyes.
Vandine said in most cases, the symptoms of monkeypox will disappear on its own in two to three weeks, but in some cases the disease can lead to complications in the treatment or death.
“We want to raise awareness and education in communities and to health workers to curb the spread of the disease in a timely manner. Wash your hands with soap or alcohol and implement respiratory protective prevention,” she added.
WHO representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said the investigation into the disease is underway but reported cases have not been linked to travel to infected areas so far.
“The purpose of disseminating information about the outbreak was to ensure preparedness and emergency response efforts. We expect that more cases of monkeypox will be identified as it is tracked in non-infected countries,” she said.
She added that the focus should be on notifying those who can be most at risk of infection to curb further spread.
“We are also working to protect frontline healthcare providers and other potentially vulnerable health staff, such as cleaners. We will provide more technical recommendations in future,” Li said.