Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Health Ministry and epidemiologists have estimated that the number of monkeypox cases in Indonesia could reach 3,600.

"Together with epidemiologists, we compared the rate that occurred in Britain. With the key population in Indonesia, we estimate that the case(load) could reach 3,600 in Indonesia," director general of disease prevention and control at the ministry, Maxi Rein Rondonuwu, said at a virtual press conference on Thursday.

He noted that the estimated figure could increase if intervention and education do not go well.

"The most important thing is implementing a clean and healthy lifestyle. Do not have sexual activity if you have monkeypox symptoms, and (healthy people must) always have safe sex," he added.

He said the higher number of cases this year compared to last year was due to several factors and one of them was the COVID-19 pandemic because of which travel between countries remained limited last year.

According to him, the local transmission this year occurred from several imported cases.

Rondonuwu said that the ministry has tried to map the timeline of how the virus entered Indonesia.

"We have tried to sort the timeline of who was the first infected. We have acknowledged one probable case since August who has had symptoms, but the person did not take a sample and it is difficult to find this person, and the person often goes back and forth abroad," he explained.

The monkeypox variant in Indonesia is considered mild and does not cause high mortality, Rondonuwu said.

However, the ministry has provided 1 thousand vaccine doses, with each targeted recipient scheduled to get 2 doses. His ministry is also coordinating with ASEAN to obtain 2 thousand additional vaccine doses.

For this reason, he said that the openness of the MSM group (men who have sex with men) toward health workers is needed to track transmission and tackle the disease optimally.

"At least be open with health workers for better treatment. If they are open, the treatment will be easier and we can suppress the transmission," he noted.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It can cause a painful rash, enlarged lymph nodes, and fever.

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Translator: Sean Muhamad, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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