The health ministry’s Communicable Disease Control Department (CDC) announced on June 2 that six suspicious cases – with symptoms similar to those of monkeypox – turned out to be negative through laboratory tests by the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC).
The ministry said it will follow the cases closely. “We found six cases which we suspected could be monkeypox, but after testing, it was confirmed that all of the patients are monkeypox free. This means there are no known cases of monkeypox in Cambodia at this time,” it said.
CDC director Ly Sovann said five out of the six suspect cases were found on children.
“The patients who shared symptoms were rural people with no history of travel outside the country, but they did have similar pox marks on their hands and feet and described muscular pain, which is also a symptom of monkeypox. This meant we had to isolate them and conduct testing immediately,” he said.
According to the CDC, monkeypox is communicable through direct or close contact with an infected person, such as through sexual relations, clothes, mattresses and other materials which are shared. It can also be transmitted through the saliva of patients who have ulcers in their mouths. Another means of transmission is from mother to baby through the placenta.
Monkeypox is also found in animals such as wild mice and squirrels. The disease is often found in west and central Africa, but is currently spreading to Europe, the US, Canada and, most recently, Australia.
Health minister Mam Bun Heng made a May 31 public appeal to people to take laboratory tests should they have suspicious symptoms.
“Medical nurses at all private and state health facilities who meet patients with symptoms similar to those of monkeypox must wear Personal Protective Equipment [PPE] before touching the patients,” he said.
He also instructed all hospitals and health centres to follow those cases and report them to the ministry for further investigation.