South Korea reports first suspected cases of monkeypox

South Korea has reported its first two suspected cases of monkeypox, public health officials said on Wednesday.

Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said the two probable cases were found earlier on Tuesday, and diagnostic tests were conducted.

Meanwhile, their identities were withheld.

However, hospital officials said that one of the individuals was admitted at the Incheon Medical Centre in Incheon, west of Seoul, at 9:40 p.m. on Tuesday.

The person reportedly showed potential symptoms of the infectious disease while entering the country via Incheon International Airport.

The hospital has two beds designated for monkeypox cases.

“The person is isolated as a suspected case and will undergo a test,” an official said, declining to give further details.

The virus, traditionally confined to Central and Western African regions, can cause symptoms that include fever, chills, rash and lesions.

The country has been vigilant against a potential inflow of monkeypox as an increasing number of countries have reported cases of the viral disease, and international travel has increased following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.

Health authorities have designated monkeypox as a second-degree infectious disease out of a four-tier system.

Currently, 22 contagious diseases, including COVID-19, cholera and chickenpox were included in the same category.

Last week, officials said the government was seeking to import the antiviral drug tecovirimat for 500 people by July.

Monkeypox patients will be treated in isolation in specialised hospitals. Health authorities said that a 21-day mandatory self-isolation period is being considered for those with a high risk of transmission after being in close contact with monkey pox patients. 


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