Covid-19 more transmissible than monkeypox, says infectious disease expert

Published May 23, 2022, 1:47 PM

by Jel Santos

Covid-19 is more transmissible than monkeypox because it can be transmitted in several ways, infectious disease expert Dr. Rontgene M. Solante said on Monday, May 23.

Monkeypox (Photo courtesy of

“In terms of transmissibility, it is still the Covid-19 that’s more transmissible because of several way[s] of transmission,” he said during a “Laging Handa” media briefing.

“Aside from the droplet, you can also have airborne because of a very small particle. It can remain in the air, and when you will be exposed that’s another way, and there’s also contact transmission,” he added.

Solante said the most common human-to-human mode of transmission of monkeypox is only respiratory droplet.

“So meaning within three feet talking to each other without any face mask, that is the mode of transmission,” the infectious disease expert said.

Per the Department of Health, monkeypox virus is “transmitted to humans through close contact (wounds, body fluids, respiratory droplets) with an infected person or animal, or with contaminated materials.” Its symptoms include fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes, which may lead to a range of medical complications.

Monkeypox may look like smallpox, but it is less contagious and causes less severe illness, the health department noted.

Recently, the DOH said cases of monkeypox were found in European countries, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

To date, there is still no recorded case of monkeypox in the country, according to the health department.

Solante, meanwhile, said that there’s a possibility that monkeypox can be present in the country.

“It is a possibility because even in some countries where the health care facilities, the ability to diagnose is very high tech and the infection was still documented,” he noted.

‘Too early for border restrictions’

When asked about the possibility of imposing border restrictions due to Omicron subvariants, the infectious disease expert said “it is still too early” for the Philippines to implement border restrictions.

It can be recalled that the Philippines has already detected the presence of Omicron subvariants BA.2.12, BA.2.12.1, and BA.4. These variants are said to be more transmissible than the original Omicron variant.

“So far it’s too early to recommend a border restriction even in countries where BA 4 and 5 [are] already increasing, they don’t implement border restrictions,” said Solante.

He said the government must instead monitor the situation and test all the vulnerable individuals with symptoms.

“What’s important here is to really monitor and I think we still need to encourage the testing of those who are the vulnerable population so that we can intervene because of treatment,” the infectious disease expert said.

“I don’t see any problem with the general population as long as we are wearing our face mask [and] we are following health protocols.”