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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Let visitors know monkeypox risk in PH, expert says

Telling travelers headed to the Philippines they could be infected with monkeypox in the country is more important than keeping them from entering it, infectious disease expert Dr. Rontgene Solante said Sunday.

In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, Solante disagreed with tightening the country’s borders against Filipinos and foreign travelers coming from countries with confirmed monkeypox cases.

“I think we don’t need restrictions. We don’t need to ban them. The only important thing here is giving travelers correct information that when they will be arriving, they can be infected as well,” he said.

This came after the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday confirmed two more cases of monkeypox in the Philippines, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to three.

These new cases were detected in two individuals who had recently traveled to countries with monkeypox infections.

Solante underscored the importance of having travelers declare their health information, such as if they had close intimate contact in countries where there is monkeypox when they arrive in the Philippines.

“It is important for those who arrive here to report also if they have possible monkeypox symptoms to doctors,” he added.

Solante also called on the public to always wash their hands, considering the health protocols against COVID-19 could also be used against monkeypox.

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire on Friday also said there is no need to close the country’s borders despite the reported monkeypox cases.

What should be done, Vergeire said, is to intensify the country’s surveillance system, and to inform Filipinos on what to do and what to avoid.

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