South Korea has confirmed the first case of monkeypox infection in the country and has raised the nation’s alert level for the disease to “caution,” the second of its four alert levels.
A Korean national showed symptoms of monkeypox infection on Tuesday afternoon after entering the country following his visit to Germany. The individual suffered from headaches three days prior to his arrival. He has tested positive and is receiving treatment at the Incheon Medical Center, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). A second suspected case of infection, involving a foreign national, tested negative.
“Among those who have been exposed (to monkeypox virus) through physical contact with confirmed patients, those with medium or high risks will receive vaccination under their consent.” KDCA did not provide further details of the infected individual.
President Yoon Suk-yeol has ordered for a quick introduction of third-generation antiviral drugs and vaccines for monkeypox. He also asked the health authority to “step up” quarantine management for foreign entrants at airports and to be ready to “distribute vaccines and treatments to the medical field,” according to Reuters.
Global ScenarioMultiple cases of monkeypox infections have popped up around the world in recent months. In the United States, 156 such cases have been identified as of June 22, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In Europe, Germany has reported the most number of infections at 521, followed by Spain with 520 cases, Portugal with 304 incidents, France with 277 cases, and the Netherlands with 167 infections. In other affected European countries, case numbers are below 100.
Outside of Europe and the United States, Canada has reported 210 infected individuals.
The United Kingdom has reported 793 confirmed cases, which includes 766 in England, 18 in Scotland, six in Wales, and three in Northern Ireland. The UK government issued guidance that makes gay men with multiple partners a top priority of the country’s monkeypox vaccination campaign.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has proposed that “vaccination should be offered as soon as feasible to GBMSM at highest risk due to a large number of contacts.”
Monkeypox has now been reported in over 40 nations worldwide where the infection is not endemic, with confirmed cases exceeding 3,000.