COVID-19 protocols may be used to prevent monkeypox – DOH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 24) — The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday reminded the public to continue following COVID-19 health protocols as these may help in preventing the spread of monkeypox if the disease reaches the country.

The DOH reiterated its public health advisory on monkeypox after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease a "public health emergency of international concern," which implies the situation is serious, sudden, and may require immediate international action.

The transmission of the monkeypox virus could be prevented through the standard health measures used against COVID-19 such as properly wearing of mask, ensuring good airflow, washing of hands, and keeping physical distancing, the DOH said.

The Health department also said that being vaccinated against smallpox showed to be "85% effective" in monkeypox prevention and may result in milder illness.

The agency explained that while monkeypox may clinically resemble smallpox, it is less contagious and causes less severe illness.

Earlier, the DOH assured that the country is ready for a monkeypox outbreak as it has been preparing for it since an increase in cases was detected in numerous countries in May 2022.

READ: DOH: PH is 'ready' for monkeypox outbreak

Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with a material contaminated with the virus, according to the WHO. It can be passed on from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated materials such as beddings.

Symptoms of monkeypox include rash with blisters, fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, muscle and back aches, and low energy.

There are over 16,800 infections reported in 74 countries as of writing, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.