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Male resident who flew in from Manila is HK’s first monkeypox patient

06 September 2022

By The SUN


An infected man in Europe shows lesions on his face from monkeypox (Steele)

A 30-year-old male resident who returned to Hong Kong aboard a Philippine Airlines flight from Manila was confirmed today, Tuesday, as the city’s first monkeypox patient.

The index patient, who had earlier spent time in the United States and Canada, flew in aboard flight PR300 yesterday morning.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection, said that their investigations showed the patient had likely acquired the highly transmissible disease in the US.


"Based on the date of onset of symptoms, incubation period and the high-risk activity, we suspect that the patient might have acquired the infection during his stay in the United States," she said.

Because the man came alone and was in hotel isolation when he was diagnosed with the disease, no close contact has been identified. Still, health officials have advised all the 80-odd passengers of flight PR300 to monitor themselves for any possible symptoms.

Chuang declined to say how the man might have been infected with monkeypox, saying it was a private matter, but pointed out to studies done by the World Health Organization that showed that 95% of the patients had acquired the disease from men to men contact.

According to Chuang, the man had taken the government-provided coach from the airport to his quarantine hotel, the Ramada Harbour View Hotel in Sai Ying Pun. There, he developed a sore throat, and had the tell-tale blisters in “hidden parts” of his body.

Following standard medical procedures he was taken to Queen Mary Hospital where an examination showed he had monkeypox. He is now being treated in isolation at the hospital.

Earlier, on Aug 30, the man reported developing a rash and swollen lymph nodes, which are also among the symptoms of the viral infection.

Paalala ng Konsulado tungkol sa monkeypox, bago naibalita ang unang kaso sa HK

According to the WHO, monkeypox is not acquired solely by men who have sex with men. It may also spread via close contact with an infected person through lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated beddings.

Chuang said the infection control measures being enforced at quarantine hotels to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are enough to stop monkeypox contamination.

She also noted that the index patient had worn a long-sleeved shirt and long pants on the plane coming into Hong Kong, so there was just a small chance he would have contaminated people around him with his body fluids.

Press for details

CHP controller, Edwin Tsui, said it is difficult to detect monkeypox cases among arrivals at the airport. He also said the risk of being infected was low for people who are not close contacts of a patient.

Still, he said authorities may raise the public health “alert” level over monkeypox as a result of the case.

He also reiterated that the government is close to acquiring the city’s first monkeypox vaccines.


They will be given initially to close contacts of infected persons, medical and laboratory staff, and people who engage in high-risk activities.

According to the WHO, around 52,000 monkeypox cases have been reported all over the world, along with 18 deaths. It declared a global health emergency alert over the disease in July.

In the Philippines, three monkeypox cases have been identified, and all were said to have been acquired overseas.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection by the monkeypox, which is part of the same family of viruses as the one that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to those for smallpox, but milder.

Despite its name, the source of the disease is unknown.

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