Education campaign, strict border control measures urged amid monkeypox threat

Published May 20, 2022, 7:43 PM

by Charie Mae F. Abarca

A health reform advocate on Friday, May 20, said that the national government should “embark on an educational campaign” and impose border control measures amid the threat of monkeypox.

Monkeypox is a viral disease coming from animals. Its symptoms include fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes.

(Image courtesy of World Health Organization)

Health reform advocate and former special adviser of the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 Dr. Anthony “Tony” Leachon said that it resembles smallpox, but is “less contagious” and it causes “less severe illness.”

The expert told Manila Bulletin that in order to prevent its entry and spread in the country, the government should begin an education campaign and strengthen its implementation of border control measures for travelers coming from areas identified with monkeypox.

“Monkeypox threat adds up to our Covid-19 pandemic response program woes given our low Covid-19 vaccination rate and over delayed booster programs. We will have our hands full with the presence of monkeypox as there is no available vaccine for this medical condition since the report of eradication of smallpox in 1980,” said Leachon.

Meanwhile, in a public health advisory issued on Friday, May 20, the Department of Health (DOH) said that to date, monkeypox has not been detected in the Philippines or at its borders.

DOH also underscored that public health standards, including but not limited to properly wearing masks, keeping hands clean, as well as observing physical distance, will prevent monkeypox transmission. It likewise assured the public that the Department is “intensifying the screening” at the country’s borders to monitor the situation.

Recent cases of monkeypox were detected in European countries, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.