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S. Korea vigilant against possible inflow of monkeypox virus: KDCA

Health 15:31 May 24, 2022

SEOUL, May 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea remains vigilant against a potential inflow of the monkeypox virus, health officials said Tuesday, as an increasing number of countries have recently reported cases of the virus traditionally confined to regions in Africa.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said in a regular briefing that the agency doesn't rule out the possibility of an influx of the monkeypox virus amid an increase in international travel on the back of eased COVID-19 rules and the incubation period of the virus.

"We are taking temperature measurements and conducting health surveys of travelers from countries where monkeypox cases have been reported," Lee Sang-won, a KDCA official, said.

According to health authorities, a total of 171 cases and 86 suspected cases of monkeypox infections have been reported in 18 countries, including in nations in Europe, the United States, Israel and Australia, this month.

The virus has traditionally been confined to countries in Central and West Africa, and typically causes fever, chills, rashes and lesions.

South Korea has yet to report an occurrence of the virus. The KDCA said South Korea has already established a testing scheme for monkeypox in 2016.

The KDCA said earlier this week that South Korea has a vaccine stockpile sufficient to inoculate 35 million people against the monkeypox virus.

"Monkeypox isn't highly contagious like COVID-19," Lee said. "While we need to remain vigilant, it is unnecessary to stay highly anxious."

People move to take COVID-19 tests upon arrival at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on May 23, 2022, when South Korea reduced restrictions for entry into the country by allowing rapid antigen tests, in addition to polymerase chain reaction tests. (Yonhap)


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