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Health authorities prepare for potential outbreak of monkeypox in S. Korea Updated: 2022-05-25 05:01:59 KST

South Korean health authorities are strengthening measures to prevent an inflow of the monkeypox virus from overseas.

"Human-to-human transmission appears to be rare for monkeypox, but we should not rule out the possibility of it being imported from overseas as more people travel, and we also have to take the 21-day incubation period into consideration."

There are no cases confirmed in the country as of Tuesday, but authorities have vowed to keep close watch on what's happening overseas.
They have also asked citizens to refrain from coming into close contact with wild animals and to be cautious when traveling to countries with confirmed cases.
Inbound travelers arriving from those countries, including the United States and nations in Europe, must report to a quarantine officer if they have certain symptoms such as a rash or fever.
People are also required to call The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency call center, 1339,. if they develop such symptoms within three weeks of arriving in Korea.

The KDCA says it had already established a testing system for monkeypox back in 2016, with PCR tests its main method.
To prepare for a potential outbreak in Korea, the agency says it plans to find ways to expand testing across the country.

"The spread of monkeypox is emerging as a global health issue, but South Korea established a diagnostic system early on and is prepared with countermeasures."

Authorities and experts also say that people should remain vigilant but shouldn't be overly concerned.

"Unlike COVID-19, monkeypox transmission is not airborne but instead, people can become infected if they come into close contact with a confirmed case. So I think the chances of the virus becoming widespread are low. But we still have to monitor the situation closely as the virus could be in the country already."

The expert added that the best way to prevent a potential spread in the country would be to wear masks and frequently wash hands.
Choi Min-jung, Arirang News.
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