Authorities in Phuket this week confirmed that the 25-year-old German man who is believed to have picked up the infection abroad is neither homosexual nor bisexual. The foreign tourist entered Thailand and first began to suffer symptoms on July 23rd with blisters spreading on his body until he sought medical attention last Tuesday at a private hospital on the island where a monkeypox infection was confirmed.
The Phuket Provincial Health Office has confirmed that the girlfriend of a German man who was diagnosed as suffering from monkeypox on Tuesday has tested negative for the disease as authorities on the island moved to play down the threat from the virus.
Laboratory results just in have given the Thai woman the all-clear for the disease which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared a public health emergency with investigations into the cause of its sudden spread beyond the African continent this year still underway.
She had been keeping herself at home in isolation since her German boyfriend was admitted to hospital this week suspected of suffering from the disease.
Third case of monkeypox in Thailand, the first was a Nigerian living in Phuket who later fled the kingdom
A laboratory test confirmed this on Tuesday making the foreign tourist the third case in Thailand after a homosexual Thai man was diagnosed last week with a Nigerian, living in Phuket, being the first case identified two weeks ago.
This man is currently recovering in hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia after illegally taking flight from Thailand into the neighbouring kingdom last month.
On Thursday, Dr Kusak Kukiattikoon the Provincial Public Health Chief in Phuket, confirmed the situation saying the woman was the most high risk of seven contacts identified by authorities as being linked to the German man’s visit to Thailand.
Health officials on the island reassure the public and tourists in Phuket that the threat is minimal
He moved to assure the public that the disease was difficult to contract and required intimate contact.
He also reassured foreign tourists that the second case of monkeypox posed no threat whatsoever and the holiday island was open for business as usual.
‘I would like to inform the general public that for chickenpox or monkeypox are not easily contagious. Contact must be through close contact, through direct skin contact with an infected person. From contact with blood, secretions, pus, pustules, which can be prevented by wearing a mask. Wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth with your hands. Be careful of animal bites or scratches. Do not share things with others. Do not get too close to smallpox patients, And to the tourists, that they can still travel to Phuket as usual,’ he declared.
German man who arrived in Thailand on July 18th and told officials he is neither homosexual nor bisexual
On Monday, the provincial health chief gave details of the case of the 25-year-old German who arrived in Thailand on July 18th.
Significantly, he stated that the man, who has a Thai girlfriend, is neither homosexual nor bisexual. The vast majority of the 20,000 cases worldwide to date have been among younger homosexual men.
Dr Kusak also clarified that health officials in Thailand believe the man contracted the disease before arriving in Thailand and pointed out that the incubation period for monkeypox is 21 days.
‘The German patient is more likely to have contracted the monkeypox virus before he arrived in Thailand because he developed symptoms only shortly after his arrival,’ he explained.
Symptoms began to appear on July 23rd and included a rash and blister in the genital area of the body
Dr Kusak elaborated that the young man first began to experience symptoms of the disease on July 23rd last, including a high fever and blisters on his genital area.
This symptom has, so far, been reported in 98% of cases worldwide.
The blisters quickly spread to other parts of the body by July 30th, July 31st and August 1st after which he sought medical treatment at a private hospital on Tuesday, August 2nd with a test later that day confirming he was infected with Monkeypox.
He said the man was staying with his girlfriend’s family in the Muang district of Phuket and had not been out alone to visit any entertainment venues.
His visit to Thailand, before the onset of the disease, had involved sightseeing tours in the company of his girlfriend.
Ministry of Public Health urges calm
Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, the Director of the Department of Disease Control at the Ministry of Public Health, has urged calm among the public concerning this disease saying that it is neither easily transmitted nor serious with a death toll, so far, of only 3 people out over 20,000 infections reported with all those suffering for existing chronic conditions.
Nevertheless, he assured the public that the government had ordered vaccines against the disease which would arrive in approximately one month.
These would be administered as a priority to frontline medical personnel dealing with any potential monkeypox cases.