By Albert Hans Lipura

Two additional cases of monkeypox have been detected in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday, August 19, bringing the total number of confirmed monkeypox cases in the country to three.

Photo Courtesy of Reuters/Philippine News Agency

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the two new cases, a 34-year-old and a 29-year-old, both Filipino nationals, had a recent travel to a country with known monkeypox infections but are not linked to the Philippines’ first monkeypox case reported last July 29.

The country’s second case was tested and confirmed positive for the disease thru Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) by the DOH Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) on August 18. As of writing, no close contact has yet been identified.

Vergeire stated that the patient is ready for discharge upon completing a 21-day home isolation period.

Meanwhile, the third confirmed case tested positive for monkeypox on Friday and is currently in quarantine at a healthcare facility. Seventeen close contacts have been identified, with their current health status being verified.

The Philippines’ first monkeypox case was detected last July 29, and has already recovered and discharged from isolation last August 6.

Despite this, Vergeire claimed that it was not yet necessary for the Philippines to close its borders. She instead advocated for a more intensified disease surveillance.

"Hindi ho natin kailangan mag-panic. Kailangan lamang talaga maging mas maingat tayo," she stated.

Moreover, in a press release, DOH asserts that the country is prepared and ready for a potential outbreak of the disease.

"The Philippines is ready for monkeypox. Our surveillance systems are detecting cases. Our hospitals and healthcare workers know and are implementing the latest protocols to care for our cases and halt infection," Vergeire said.

Amidst the country’s heightened preparations, DOH reminded the public to still be vigilant, informed, and to follow health protocols for safety against the disease.

On July 23, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the monkeypox outbreak an international public health emergency. Since then, about 35,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported across 92 countries, with 12 deaths so far.

Edited by Annika Gorgeana Maningo