The new health scare to hit the globe, hot on the tail of COVID-19, looks to be the monkeypox. Several other countries have been hit by the virus, from Canada and the US to several countries in Europe including the UK, Spain, Italy, France, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland and Austria. While there are no local cases yet, the Ministry of Health has said that the government will step up monitoring at all international gateways into Malaysia to prevent the virus from spreading in the country. This includes the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
According to Deputy Health Minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali, there will be screening tests like temperature checks for passengers coming from countries with cases of monkeypox. Samples will be collected from those showing symptoms of the disease.
He also says that there are no local cases of monkeypox yet. All the same, he says that those with fever and rashes should seek treatment at health clinics immediately.
On a related note, you may have come across news on social media where claims of monkeypox are already spreading in the country, accompanied by an image of a child. On this, the Director General of Health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has announced on his Facebook page that the three-year-old in question is infected not with monkeypox, but hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).
According to the post, the child in question was tested for both diseases, as well as several other types of viruses, by the National Public Health Laboratory. The child tested positive for the Coxsackievirus A6, which causes HFMD. Tests for the other viruses turned up negative. The child was first brought to the Batu 14 Health Clinic in Selangor due to fever, before developing rashes a few days later. The rashes then turned into blisters, which began to burst.