The first imported monkeypox patient in the country, who fled from Thailand despite a positive test result, is still receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, according to Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine.

The Nigerian man, 27-year-old Osmond Chihazirim Nzerem, was caught by Cambodian authorities in Phsar Doeum Tkov commune of the capital’s Chamkarmon district.

The Bangkok Post first reported on July 23 that lab tests had confirmed he was Thailand’s first case of monkeypox.

Vandine said the patient remained hospitalised as of August 1, but his condition was stable.

She noted that all of the five people in Cambodia known to have been in contact with the man were continuing to isolate themselves, and that none had shown any symptoms.

The simplest way for the public to avoid spreading this new health threat is to avoid direct contact with those who are suspected to be carrying it, she said.

Vandine explained that there are symptoms which people should be on the lookout for, in particular itchy skin and blister on the legs, hands or face. These are often the first symptoms of the disease.

“A patient will begin to suffer from a fever of up to 38.5 degrees Celcius, and blisters will begin to appear on the forearms and the genitals as well. It will be accompanied by swollen lymph nodes, body and muscle aches, and extreme fatigue,” she said.

The duration for monkeypox treatment is from two to three weeks, and patients will need to isolate for 21 days and test regularly until they return a negative test.

Vandine stressed that there had not been any confirmed cases of monkeypox community transmission in Cambodia thus far.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern”. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on July 23 that the virus had spread rapidly around the world.