Jakarta (ANTARA) - Director general of disease prevention and control at the Ministry of Health, Maxi Rein Rondonuwu, has said that 14 confirmed cases of monkeypox (mpox) have been recorded in Indonesia so far.

"In Indonesia, as of today, October 26, 2023, there are 14 (mpox) cases that have been confirmed," he said at a press conference, which was followed online from here on Thursday.

In addition, there are 17 negative or discarded cases, 2 cases have been included in the probable category, and 9 recorded as suspected cases, he informed.

Rondonuwu explained that patients included in the probable category are people who have had contact with mpox patients, but their samples have not been taken for laboratory testing.

Meanwhile, suspected patients are those who are experiencing the same symptoms as mpox sufferers and their samples have been taken, but their laboratory results are not out yet, he added.

According to him, 9 out of the 14 people who are confirmed to have contracted mpox are in the 25–29 age bracket, while the rest are aged 30–39 years. All of them are men and they contracted the infectious disease through sexual contact.

He further said that 12 of them are homosexual, while 1 is bisexual and 1 is heterosexual.

"All of them are symptomatic. Most have lesions, fever, swollen lymph nodes, experience pain when swallowing, muscle aches, and chills," he informed.

He said that the sufferers also have comorbidities: 12 people are living with HIV, 5 people have syphilis, and 1 person has hypertension; some mpox sufferers have more than one comorbid condition.

Rondonuwu then appealed to people to remain vigilant against the disease because, so far, 4 cases have been detected outside Jakarta. Earlier, mpox cases were only recorded in Jakarta.

"Outside Jakarta, (mpox) already exists in Tangerang. Can it happen in other regions? Of course, it can," he said.

The ministry has made several efforts to handle mpox, including strengthening surveillance through epidemiological investigation, conducting whole genome sequencing (WGS) of confirmed cases, and notifying the World Health Organization (WHO).

In addition, he said, it is also providing therapeutics to patients. It has been carrying out vaccinations targeting 477 recipients since October 23, 2023, and has been cooperating with various parties for carrying out risk communication to check the spread of mpox, he added.

He also highlighted the importance of implementing a clean and healthy lifestyle as well as practicing safe sex to prevent infection.

He further said that the openness of men who have sex with men (MSM) with health officers is important to trace cases so that mpox handling can be made optimal.

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Translator: Sean Muhamad, Raka Adji
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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