The DOH Says the Philippines Is Prepared for a Potential Monkeypox Outbreak

It's a public health emergency now.

With more confirmed cases in Asian countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and recently Japan, the rapid global spread of monkeypox has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern.

So far, most of the monkeypox cases have been concentrated in West Asia, with 141 of the total 156 cases were reported in the region.

The outbreak has also gotten the attention of the Philippines' Department of Health (DOH). It did, however, note that the first monkeypox case in the country has yet to be detected. The DOH is prepared to handle any potential spread, according to the department's Officer-in-Charge Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire.

“Hanggang sa ngayon, wala pa rin pong nakitaan sa Pilipinas na pasok sa depenisyon ng isang suspect monkeypox case. Ang itsura ay karaniwang naipapaliwanag ng ibang mga sakit na kahawig ng monkeypox, ngunit hindi nito kapareho,” she said. “The DOH will keep the Filipino public updated with factual information."


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While the risk of monkeypox remains high in Europe, it has been at a moderate level globally. Temporary recommendations were released by the WHO for countries like the Philippines with no history of monkeypox. These include:

  1. Activate multi-sectoral coordination mechanisms for readiness and response, to stop human to human transmission;
  2. Avoid stigmatization and discrimination against any individual or population group that may be affected, to help prevent further undetected transmission;
  3. Intensify epidemiology and disease surveillance;
  4. Intensify detection capacity by raising awareness and training health workers;
  5. Raise awareness about virus transmission, related prevention and protective measures, and symptoms and signs among communities that are currently affected as well as among other population groups that may be at risk;
  6. Engage key community-based groups and civil society networks to increase provision of reliable and factual information;
  7. Focus risk communication and community support efforts on settings and venues where close contact takes place;
  8. Immediately report to WHO probable and confirmed cases of monkeypox; and
  9. Implement all actions necessary to be ready to apply or continue applying further Temporary Recommendations for countries with detected cases, should there be a first-time detection of one or more suspected, probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox.

"Consistent with WHO recommendations, the DOH has been carefully communicating the risk of monkeypox transmission along with other pertinent facts about its causative agent and clinical presentation," said Vergeire. "DOH emphasizes across all its guidelines and advisories that any individual can get monkeypox.”


The DOH has met with healthcare workers, regional offices, and local health officials about addressing the potential outbreak. Vergeire pointed out that the DOH has also been collaborating with local civil society organizations, community-based groups, and social hygiene clinics, among others. They also hope to prevent the stigma about monkeypox, as this may lead to undetected transmission.

First discovered in 1958, the monkeypox virus leads to flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions. Monkeypox can spread through close contact with an infected person who has symptoms.

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