First monkeypox case in Việt Nam given all-clear

October 13, 2022 - 16:54
The patient, a 35-year-old woman who returned from Dubai, was found to have monkeypox by HCM City's Medical Monitoring Systems on September 23.


Representatives of the VNCDC visiting Việt Nam's first monkeypox patient. — VNA/VNS Photo

HCM CITY — The first monkeypox patient in Việt Nam has been given the all-clear after repeatedly testing negative for the virus, and all close contacts are safe, with no further cases found.

The patient, a 35-year-old woman who returned from Dubai, was found to have monkeypox by HCM City's Medical Monitoring Systems on September 23.

Her test samples were taken and sent to the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the Pasteur Institute HCM City. The test results on September 25 showed the patient had the monkeypox virus.

According to Prof. Phan Trọng Lân, director of the Việt Nam Control Disease Control, the patient caught the virus in a foreign country and had symptoms from September 18. On September 23, one day after her return, she immediately went to Từ Dũ Hospital for a check-up.

She was transferred to the HCM City Hospital of Dermatovenerology and then to the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases, where she was quarantined and treated. She first tested negative after 12 days of treatment. 

The transmission source was determined to be outside Việt Nam as the patient was abroad for 60 days and recorded symptoms there.

The patient was treated as a positive case while awaiting results, and all the monitoring, testing and contact tracing protocols were done as recommended.

According to the test results and genome sequencing done by the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU), the patient had the monkeypox virus of clade IIb.

After treatment, the patient had no fever, and the blisters on her skin flaked off. The blisters in her throat also healed, and the patient is in good condition and spirits. PCR tests on different locations of the body all reported negative.

The patient adhered to regulations in quarantine, and close contacts in Việt Nam have not recorded symptoms.

Medical workers who took care of or were in close contact with the patient are also being monitored.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the total number of monkeypox cases around the world has reached 70,000 and 26 people have died from the virus. The virus has been found in 106 countries.

"Monkeypox disease entering Việt Nam is inevitable," said Lân.

"In current travelling conditions, the disease can jump from country to country," Lân added.

The monkeypox virus is usually transmitted from animal to human, but experts suggested that the current worldwide outbreak is spread through close contact with patients.

Common symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, lymph node swelling, and rashes.

Monkeypox can also cause rashes similar to smallpox in the face, anus and genital areas.

The virus can be transmitted through patients' bodily fluids, such as boils and blood, and also through objects that patients use.

Most cases will heal after 10-14 days and cannot spread after 21 days. However, to protect the community, citizens are advised to enact precautionary methods recommended by health authorities.

Plans and scenarios for dealing with monkeypox in Việt Nam have also been prepared. — VNS