SOURCE OF SICKNESS This 2004 image released by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Monday, May 23, 2022, shows an ultrathin section electron-microscopic capture of the monkeypox virus. RKI IMAGE VIA AFP
SOURCE OF SICKNESS This 2004 image released by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Monday, May 23, 2022, shows an ultrathin section electron-microscopic capture of the monkeypox virus. RKI IMAGE VIA AFP

SEOUL: South Korea reported its first imported case of monkeypox on Wednesday, becoming the latest of about 40 countries — and the first in East Asia — to have identified the disease.

A South Korean in their 30s who arrived from Germany on Tuesday was confirmed to have contracted the viral disease, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

The patient, whose identity has been withheld, developed a fever last weekend and symptoms worsened to include fatigue and skin rash when they arrived in the country, Peck Kyong-ran, the disease control agency chief, told reporters.

The patient reported to the authorities at the airport before they came into close contact with others and is now receiving treatment, Peck said.

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Further details of the person's condition have not been made public.

Peck urged people to report to authorities if they showed any of the symptoms after visiting countries coping with monkeypox infections, stressing it was "the most important thing in preventing the spread."

The normal initial symptoms include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery, chickenpox-like rash.

The virus usually clears up after two or three weeks.

Seoul's Wednesday report came hours after Singapore announced its first imported case of the disease in this year's outbreak.

The patient, a 42-year-old British flight attendant who had been flying in and out of the Southeast Asian island state, tested positive for monkeypox on Monday.

Singapore's last case of the disease was detected in 2019.

So far, the ongoing outbreak has mainly affected men who have had sex with other men.

In France, health authorities on Tuesday detected 277 cases, rising sharply from 183 five days earlier. Of the new infections, one was confirmed in a woman.

In a statement, the country's public health agency said the "mode of transmission" for the infected female was "being investigated."

Most of the cases identified in the western European nation have been found in Paris and its suburbs, though smaller outbreaks have been seen in several regions, including Normandy in the north and the Cote d'Azur in the south.

The first monkeypox case in France was discovered on May 20, the same day the virus was detected in neighboring Germany.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom's Health Security Agency recommended that some gay and bisexual men at higher risk of contracting the disease should be offered a vaccine to control the outbreak.

The country has registered 793 monkeypox cases as of Monday.

Dr. Mary Ramsay, the agency's head of immunization, said contact tracing had helped limit the spread, "but we are continuing to see a notable proportion of cases in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men."

"By expanding the vaccine offer to those at higher risk, we hope to break chains of transmission and help contain the outbreak," she added in a statement.

The virus is not currently classified as a sexually transmitted infection, but can be passed on through intimate close contact.

The World Health Organization said last week that Europe remained the epicenter of the global monkeypox outbreak. It is due to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to determine whether to classify the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.