South Korea reports first two monkeypox cases; France confirms first woman infected
SEOUL (REUTERS, AFP) - South Korea on Wednesday (June 22) said the first two suspected cases of monkeypox virus have been reported in the country, adding that diagnostic tests were being conducted and health authorities will hold a briefing once the tests were completed.
One of the people with suspected monkeypox, a foreign national who reportedly showed potential symptoms since Sunday, entered the country on Monday and is currently under treatment in an isolation bed at a hospital in the city of Busan, some 300km southeast of the capital Seoul.
The other, a Korean citizen who showed symptoms while entering the country from Germany on Tuesday afternoon, has been admitted to Incheon Medical Centre for treatment.
“Diagnostic tests and epidemiological investigations on the monkeypox are being conducted and the health authority will swiftly hold a briefing to announce measures and response plans once the results are out,” the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said in a statement.
KDCA, however, did not give further details of the individuals.
Earlier this month, South Korea designated monkeypox as a second-degree infectious disease, according to its four-tier system, with 22 contagious diseases including Covid-19, cholera and chickenpox being included in the same category.
In Europe, France detected 277 cases of monkeypox, health authorities said on Tuesday, including the first case in the country of a woman contracting the virus.
The case numbers have risen steeply since the last official figure of 183 cases five days earlier. But there have been no deaths in France attributed to monkeypox.
The normal initial symptoms of monkeypox include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery chickenpox-like rash.
Until recently, the viral disease had generally been confined to Western and Central Africa but is now present in several continents, including a first imported case in Singapore this month.
Among the latest cases recorded in France, "a first female case has been confirmed, the mode of transmission of which is currently being investigated, and all the others are men", the French national public health agency said in a statement.
So far, the recent outbreak of monkeypox, which is currently affecting some 40 countries, has mainly affected men who have engaged in gay sex.
The World Health Organisation is due to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to determine whether to classify the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.
The virus usually clears up after two or three weeks.
Most of the cases identified in France have been found in Paris and its suburbs, though smaller outbreaks have been seen in several regions throughout the country, including Normandy in the north and the Cote d'Azur in the south.
The first monkeypox case in France was discovered on May 20, the same day the virus was detected in neighbouring Germany.