If a person is sick and has developed spots over the body, then there should be no physical contact with the person in question
Bali (ANTARA) - Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin appealed to the public to stay calm following the discovery of the first case of monkeypox in Indonesia, as the virus was not as vicious as SARS-CoV-2 that caused COVID-19.

"Monkeypox has (spread) across the world, with as many as 35 thousand positive cases being identified. At the same time, the number of COVID-19 cases had reached millions," Minister Sadikin stated during the 3rd HWG press conference at the Hilton Hotel, Nusa Dua, Bali, on Monday.

The minister explained that monkeypox spreads at a much different pace as compared to COVID-19. Transmission of the disease occurred when symptoms were exhibited as averse to COVID-19 that could spread even without symptoms, thereby infecting other people with weak immunity.

Symptoms that generally arise in monkeypox patients are spots and pus-filled bumps or blisters, he remarked.

"If the spots do not fall off, they are not contagious. Hence, avoiding them is much easier," he noted.

Monkeypox does not spread as easily as COVID-19 that could spread the virus within a maximum incubation period of 14 days through droplets or oral fluids, he pointed out. Monkeypox is transmitted through physical contact with the patient.

"If a person is sick and has developed spots over the body, then there should be no physical contact with the person in question," he cautioned.

He expressed confidence that people born before the smallpox vaccination era in 1980 had stronger antibody levels than those born after that period.

"(With regard to) the monkeypox virus, the vaccination is until 1980, and (the protection) is active for life. For those born before that year, they should still be protected (from monkeypox though) maybe not 100 percent," he remarked.

As for deaths caused by monkeypox, the number globally was very low, he said. Of the approximately 35 thousand cases reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 12 people had died as of now.

"It is not even dying from the monkeypox virus, because with just the skin being affected, it cannot cause death," he said.

The main cause of death among monkeypox patients was the spread of bacteria from lesions on the fingers or hands that may become intensely itchy and if secondary infection occurs that affects the lung or brain tissue.

"The cause is a skin infection. When (the lesions become) itchy and the skin gets scratched, the infection can spread in the body through the wound, and (the body) gets infected with bacteria, and in the lungs, it is usually due to pneumonia, or meningitis in the brain due to the bacteria. (The death is) not because of the monkeypox skin infection," he elaborated.

Sadikin stated that currently, two types of monkeypox viruses were spreading globally, those being from West Africa and Central Africa.

"One is fatal, and one is not fatal. In Indonesia, it is not fatal because the patients are still doing well," he remarked.

He appealed to the public to remain disciplined in following health protocols, maintaining distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands. Additionally, they must consistently maintain cleanliness.

Related news: IDI increases cross-regional coordination to detect monkeypox cases
Related news: Ministry calls for calm as first monkeypox case emerges
Related news: Health Ministry announces Indonesia's first monkeypox case

Translator: Andi Firdaus, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Sri Haryati
Copyright © ANTARA 2022