African monkeypox case arrested in Cambodia

Monkeypox patient captured in Cambodia: African Osmond Chihazirim Nzerem identified a Chiang Mai language school as linked to his stay in Thailand when he arrived last October, but Phuket Deputy Governor Pichet Panapong says told reporters on Friday that he had overstayed his Thailand visa by 4 months after arriving in the kingdom on October 21 from Abuja in Nigeria. On Saturday, the head of the disease control department, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, said the man did not appear to have been a normal tourist and that after crossing the border from Thailand to another country, authorities believed he had received help from others to avoid working with officials. .

Cambodian police have arrested the 27-year-old Nigerian who was confirmed as the first case of monkeypox in Thailand this week by officials from Phuket and the Ministry of Public Health. On Saturday, the head of the Department of Disease Control at the Ministry of Public Health urged the Thai public to go about their business with confidence after the country’s first case of Monkeypox was detected in the kingdom, confirmed in Phuket. as a Nigerian national who arrived in Thailand last October 21 and mysteriously disappeared with senior officials strongly suspecting him of having already crossed the Thai border into Cambodia.

On Saturday, the head of the disease control department at the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong (centre), told Thais to go on with their lives and not worry too much about the threat of monkeypox (inset) as it is quite difficult to contract. He explained that Thai authorities were carrying out random checks at sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics and facilities where such treatment was made available, especially to foreigners, in response to the first case, detected this week with a 27-year-old Nigerian. who has since disappeared and whose condominium in Kathu, Phuket was cleaned by a team in hazmat suits (inset).

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health and associated agencies have launched a surveillance operation after the kingdom detected its first case of monkeypox in a 27-year-old Nigerian national who arrived from Abuja, the capital of the West African country. West, and entered Thailand last year on October 21 as a tourist while posing as a language student at a school in Chiang Mai.

The man was named Mr Osmond Chihazirim Nzerem who presented to a Thai hospital on July 16 with symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat and lesions that had developed on his genital area and which spread to other parts of his body.

West African version of the disease

On Saturday, Dr Opas Karnkawanpong, head of the Department of Disease Control at the Ministry of Public Health, confirmed that the African national was suffering from the A2 strain or West African version of the Monkeypox disease which is also circulating in the United States while The B version is predominant in Europe.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declined to declare the worldwide spread of Monkeypox an emergency, saying the disease did not yet meet the criteria.

The day before, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the WHO, had revealed that there had been 15,848 cases of the disease so far, concentrated in Europe, with 5 deaths, all in Africa.

The disease is not a threat to most Thais who can live their lives normally, says a senior health official

Thailand was among six countries that reported their first cases of the disease this week, becoming the 72nd country to be listed in the outbreak.

Dr Opas stressed that for most Thais this disease was not a threat and encouraged them to go about their normal business as it required very close and intimate contact to spread in limited circumstances.

He said health officials were now stepping up checks on clinics, hospitals and STD treatment facilities that treat cases of sexually transmitted diseases, especially those with foreigners as patients.

He said the disease’s incubation period was 21 days, but it was much less likely to be transmissible than COVID-19.

Scores are being monitored as hundreds are tested as Phuket officials track down those who came into contact with the 27-year-old Nigerian national

A total of 33 at-risk people who came into contact with the man in Phuket are being monitored, including 19 in the “high risk” category.

So far, none have tested positive for the disease. In total, Dr Opas said 38 people had been tested and 31 were already negative.

At the same time, authorities were taking no chances and were tracking the man’s known contacts at two entertainment venues in Phuket, with authorities on the island monitoring hundreds of people.

“From the preliminary background review, we found suspects in various locations,” the official said. ‘There was proactive screening by the Phuket Communicable Disease Committee. They found two places of entertainment where the patient went to use the service. We will screen for symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat or blisters. This involved screening 142 people who presented with fever, cough, sore throat and body aches. Six confirmed that they had not been in close contact with the patient. They were sent to test for infection, five cases were not found. The other went abroad. The others had no blisters, requiring a 21-day symptom follow-up,” he pointed out.

The man disappeared after being asked to self-isolate by the local hospital in Phuket which he presented to on July 16

Dr Opas said earlier on Saturday the infected man would have left Thailand through a normal border crossing before authorities confirmed his arrest in Cambodia.

He also mentioned that upon entering Thailand last October, the man gave the identity of a language school in Chiang Mai to officers at the immigration office and did not appear to be a typical tourist.

Once it was confirmed that the Nigerian had the disease, a massive tracking and monitoring operation was launched, especially after it was revealed that he had been visiting entertainment venues in the area. nightlife from Patong to Phuket.

A first briefing on the matter was given on Friday by Phuket Deputy Governor Pichet Panapong.

The island’s top official also revealed that the Nigerian national went missing after he was advised by hospital to self-isolate at his condominium in Phuket’s Kathu district.

High case after testing positive for Monkeypox

Medical officials at Vachira Phuket Hospital, which he attended on Saturday July 16, did not consider his condition to be serious at that time.

His case was then raised when he tested positive for monkeypox and hospital officials were unable to contact him by phone.

Since then, two separate lab tests have confirmed the man has monkeypox.

On Friday, it was reported that a clean-up had taken place at the condominium he was staying in with officers from the immigration office in Phuket in coordination with other police services, including the Border Police at Phuket. nationwide, as part of a search for the infected man who was allegedly illegally avoiding them. .

Mr Nzerem thought he had left the country for Cambodia with the last ping from his phone detected in Sa Kaeo

It is understood authorities believed Mr Nzerem had already left the country with a signal from his smartphone detected near Sa Kaeo province, adjacent to Thailand’s border with Cambodia.

The phone is now off.

Thai police and medical health agencies have been in contact with their counterparts in the eastern kingdom in an attempt to trace the man, which led to his subsequent arrest.

Phuket public health chief Dr Kusak Kukiartkul said Mr Nzerem appeared to have overstayed his four-month visa, although police are trying to get information from a language school in Chiang Mai who allegedly links to the Nigerian but has not received the full cooperation of those involved.

It is now also believed that Mr Nzerem may have had wider connections within the kingdom as he appears to have been aided in his escape from Thailand.

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Further reading:

A case of monkeypox in Thailand was confirmed in a transiting passenger at Suvarnabhumi airport last week

The Thailand Pass will be used for Monkeypox screening at airports with a new RT-PCR test for the disease

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