Monkeypox fatality rate higher than PH’s Covid-19 death rate, expert says

Published May 23, 2022, 4:27 PM

by Charie Mae F. Abarca

The case fatality rate of monkeypox is higher than the Philippines’ Covid-19 death rate, said National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 special adviser Dr. Teodoro “Ted” Herbosa on Monday, May 23.

(Image courtesy of World Health Organization)

Monkeypox is a viral disease coming from animals. Its symptoms include fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes. While it has not been detected in the Philippines or at its borders, health experts are alarmed due to the looming threat of this re-emerging infectious disease amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an interview over ANC, Herbosa disclosed that the fatality rate of monkeypox in Africa is actually higher than the Philippine Covid-19 death rate.

“It is self limiting. You recover from the illness and there are still no reported deaths from the few 80 to 200 cases, but that does not mean that there is no death. In Africa, the case fatality rate is about 3 [and] that is a bit higher than our Covid-19 [death rate] with just 2.5,” said Herbosa.

Herbosa likewise disclosed that monkeypox is highly transmissible. It can be transmitted through close contact with an infected person, animal, or contaminated materials. However, the expert said that minimum public health standards, such as but not limited to, wearing of masks and observing physical distancing may prevent monkeypox transmission.

“This one is not totally new. We know about this illness, but it re-emerged outside Africa so that is very alarming. Information is key, everybody knows that there is this problem so that people can be aware and be careful,” he added.

No need to close PH borders amid monkeypox threat

While the threat of monkeypox remains, Herbosa previously said that it is “unnecessary” to close the country’s borders, citing its possible impact to the Philippine tourism, economy, as well as the supply and chain of goods and services.

This was backed by health reform advocate and former special adviser of NTF against Covid-19 Dr. Anthony “Tony” Leachon who said that instead of closing the borders, the country needs to implement a “strict border control measure” from travelers coming from areas identified with monkeypox.

The Department of Health (DOH), on the other hand, said that they are intensifying the screening at the country’s borders to ensure that the surveillance systems are actively monitoring the situation.