Monkeypox Cases on the Rise in Thailand: Concerns and Prevention Measures

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The Department of Disease Control (DDC) in Thailand has recently raised concerns over a significant surge in monkeypox cases, with a particular emphasis on the rise among young people.

In August alone, Thailand recorded a staggering 145 new monkeypox cases, including a 16-year-old boy. This concerning trend has prompted health officials to take action and raise awareness about the virus.

In this article, we will delve into the current situation of monkeypox in Thailand, examine the demographics of those affected, and explore the measures being taken to combat the outbreak.

The Alarming Increase in Monkeypox Cases

DDC Director-General Dr. Tares Krassanairawiwong revealed troubling statistics regarding monkeypox infections in Thailand over the past four months. In May, there were 22 cases, which increased to 48 cases in June, 80 cases in July, and a staggering 145 cases in August. This exponential rise in cases is a cause for serious concern and warrants immediate attention from health authorities.

Demographics of Those Affected

Of the 316 cases recorded in Thailand up to August 31st, a significant majority—271 individuals—are gay men, accounting for approximately 85.8% of all infections. Additionally, out of these 271 cases, 143 also have HIV, indicating a higher risk among individuals with compromised immune systems. Among the infected, 277 are Thai nationals, while 36 are foreigners, with three cases of unspecified nationality. Unfortunately, one fatality has been recorded, highlighting the severity of the disease.

Geographic Distribution of Cases

The distribution of monkeypox cases across Thailand is not uniform. Bangkok has reported the highest number of cases, with 198 individuals affected. Other provinces with significant case numbers include Chon Buri (22 cases), Nonthaburi (17 cases), and Samut Prakan (12 cases). This non-uniform distribution may indicate regional variations in exposure or healthcare infrastructure.

Age Groups Affected

Monkeypox infections in Thailand are not limited to a specific age group. However, there are clear trends in the demographics of those affected. The 30-39 age group has the highest number of cases, with 152 individuals, followed by the 20-29 age group with 85 cases. Notably, 28 cases have been reported in the 15-24 age group, which raises concerns about the virus’s prevalence among teenagers and young adults.

Treatment and Prevention Efforts

Dr. Tares Krassanairawiwong emphasized that patients with serious symptoms who are admitted to hospitals are being treated with Tecovirimat medication. This medication is provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use and has shown promise in treating monkeypox. However, it’s crucial to note that prevention remains the most effective strategy against the virus.

DDC Deputy Director-General Sophon Iamsirithavorn highlighted an important shift in the demographics of monkeypox cases in Thailand. Initially, the majority of cases were among adults. However, since August, there has been a noticeable increase in teenage cases, including a 16-year-old boy who was hospitalized in August.

The case of the 16-year-old boy serves as a stark reminder that monkeypox can affect individuals of all ages. In response to this development, public health investigators have been monitoring the boy’s sexual partners, but none of them have tested positive for the virus.

Preventive Measures and Recommendations

In light of the increasing number of monkeypox cases, health officials are urging young people and gay men to practice safe sex and take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes avoiding close body contact with strangers and being vigilant about the presence of clear fluid blisters, rashes, or pustules on their partners’ bodies, particularly around the genital area.

Conclusion

The surge in monkeypox cases in Thailand, especially among young people and gay men, is a matter of great concern. Health authorities are actively addressing the situation by providing treatment to those in need and intensifying efforts to raise awareness about preventive measures. It is crucial for individuals to take responsibility for their health and follow recommended guidelines to protect themselves and their communities from this emerging health threat. Monkeypox serves as a reminder that infectious diseases can quickly spread and impact people of all ages, underscoring the importance of continued vigilance and proactive measures in public health.


How It Spreads

Close or Intimate Contact

Mpox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:

  • Direct contact with mpox rash and scabs from a person with mpox, as well as contact with their saliva, upper respiratory secretions (snot, mucus), and areas around the anus, rectum, or vagina

This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including:

  • Oral, anal, or vaginal sex, or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus of a person with mpox
  • Hugging, massage, and kissing
  • Prolonged face-to-face contact

Touching Objects

Although less likely, mpox can be spread by touching objects, fabrics, and surfaces that have been used by someone with mpox and not disinfected, such as clothing, bedding, towels, fetish gear, or sex toys.

When can a person spread mpox?

  • From the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed.
  • Some people can spread mpox to others from 1 to 4 days before they have symptoms. It’s not clear how many people this has affected during the current outbreak.
  • There is currently no evidence that people who never have symptoms have spread the virus to someone else. CDC will continue to monitor the latest information about how mpox spreads.

Mpox and Pregnancy

Mpox virus can be spread to the fetus during pregnancy or to the newborn by close contact during and after birth.

Infected Animals

Some animals can be infected with mpox and spread it to people through close contact. This is more likely with wild animals, specifically small mammals like squirrels, rats, and mice that live in areas where mpox is endemic (found naturally, such as in West and Central Africa). A person can get mpox if they touch a rash, scab, crust, saliva, or other fluids from an infected animal. In areas where mpox is endemic, people may get mpox after hunting, trapping, or processing infected wild animals.

It’s less likely to get mpox from a pet, but it’s possible that a pet could get infected and spread mpox to a person during close contact like petting, cuddling, hugging, kissing, licking, and sharing sleeping spaces or food.

People should avoid close contact with an animal that might have mpox. It’s also possible that people with mpox can spread it to animals, so someone with mpox should avoid contact with animals, including pets.

Can mpox spread through water in pools, hot tubs, or splash pads?

No studies have found a clear link between mpox and water in pools, hot tubs, or splash pads. The mpox virus is killed in water at the chlorine levels recommended for disinfection in recreational water venues by CDC and required by U.S. jurisdictions.

When to Get Tested

  • Currently, testing is only recommended if you have a rash consistent with mpox.
  • If you think you have mpox or have had close personal contact with someone who has mpox, consider taking precautions and visit a healthcare provider to help you decide if you need to be tested for mpox.

Where to Get Tested

  • Only a healthcare provider can order an mpox test. The healthcare provider may take a specimen and send it to a lab for testing or they may send you to a lab for both specimen collection and testing.
  • Contact your local health department with any questions and to find out what the testing options are for your community.

What to Expect When You Get Tested

  • You will likely need to fill out paperwork before you get tested.
  • To get a specimen to test, the healthcare provider will use a swab to rub vigorously across lesions of your rash. They will take swabs from more than one lesion.
  • This swabbing may be uncomfortable but is necessary to get enough material to detect the mpox virus from the specimens.
  • The specimens will be tested in a lab to see if the mpox virus is detected.
  • Results are usually available within a few days.
  • While you are waiting for your results, take precautions to avoid getting or spreading mpox virus to others.

What Your Results Mean

  • If your test result is positive, take the necessary steps to protect yourself and others until you have completely recovered from your infection.
  • If your test result is negative: a negative test result means the test did not detect the virus and you probably do not have mpox. Continue to take steps to protect yourself and others.
  • If your test result is inconclusive: that means that your test will need to be conducted again because not enough of the specimen was taken.

Paying for Testing

The cost of mpox testing depends on where you get it.

  • Tests conducted by public health departments are usually free.
  • Testing referrals from a private healthcare provider to a commercial lab or tests done in the hospital may involve a fee.
  • For information on testing options in your community contact your local health department.

reference link :https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/mpox/vaccines/index.html

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