The Siem Reap Provincial Referral Hospital has clarified that an eight-month pregnant woman with blisters on her chest and arms is not infected with monkeypox. Hospital director Pen Phalkun said the woman was suffering from chickenpox, and her condition was improving.

Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng decried the “disinformation” that had been spread. The reports claimed that the woman, from Traing village of Siem Reap town’s Slakram commune, was the first community case of monkeypox in Cambodia.

Bun Heng said this was perhaps due to the similarities of the blisters. In a July 27 press statement, he explained that the 23-year-old patient checked into the hospital on July 25 and tested negative for monkeypox.

“The Siem Reap provincial response team – in cooperation with a response team from the health ministry’s Communicable Disease Control Department – examined the patient and sent samples to the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge for analysis. The result came back negative,” he said.

Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that as of July 26, Cambodia had not detected any monkeypox cases in the community aside from the sole imported case involving a Nigerian man who fled Thailand after testing positive for the disease. The man is undergoing treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh.

Bun Heng said the condition of the Nigerian man had improved and he should recover soon, thanks to the medical attention he had received.

He renewed his calls for the public to remain vigilant, saying that although no community transmission had been recorded, it could spread rapidly if it came.

Symptoms of monkeypox may include a fever of over 38.5 degrees Celsius, headaches, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. Also among the symptoms is a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.

To prevent transmission, avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox. People are advised against touching the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox, kissing, cuddling or having sex with them, or even sharing eating utensils or cups.