Mpox cases soaring with Bangkok, 2 adjacent provinces on red alert


THE Public Health Ministry said today (Aug. 21) the number of mpox (monkeypox) cases will likely again reach hundreds this month similar to last month with Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Chonburi provinces now placed on red alert, Thai Rath newspaper said.

Dr. Sophon Iamsirithaworn, the department’s deputy chief, said from July 2022 to April 2023 only around 20 cases of mpox cropped up but this was followed by a jump to 20 cases in May alone followed by 50 in June.

Although during the initial July 2022-April 2023 period some already mpox-infected foreigners fell ill while in Thailand, since then almost 100% of the cases are Thais with those foreigners who got infected doing so right here.

However, Dr. Sophon does not want the public to worry too much because if they do not engage in risky sexual behaviour there is almost no chance of the average person catching the disease.

For example over the past two to three months no women got infected with mpox with all the patients being men and all of them having exposed themselves to unsafe sex.

Almost half of the patients were infected with HIV and while some were already taking antiviral drugs others did not know they were HIV positive. This then drastically reduced their immunity and opened the door to opportunistic infections possibly leading to death as occurred with a 34-year-old man who recently became the first person to die from this disease.

Dr. Sophon revealed that in this fatal case, the white blood cell count, or CD4 count, was very low reaching only 16 while the patient was also infected with syphilis with mpox causing fungus to spread.

The department’s latest figures show that as of August 8 this year there 189 mpox cases in Thailand with 82 patients being HIV positive, or 43%.

From Jan. 1 to Aug. 15, 2023 there were 217 mpox cases with 30 of them being foreigners and 187 Thais and the average age is 20-64 years old.

Mpox infection has been found in 19 provinces with three at the highest red alert level, that is Bangkok with 136 cases, Nonthaburi 14 and Chonburi nine.

The three provinces at orange alert level are Samut Prakan with nine cases, Phuket eight and Pathum Thai seven,

The 13 province at yellow alert level are Rayong with three cases; Samut Sakhon, Lop Buri, Maha Sarakham, Khon Kaen and Phayaop two cases each; followed by Nakhon Ratchasima, Kalasin, Chachoengsao, Suphan Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Chiang Rai and Ayutthaya with one case each.


Top: A graphic image of mpox cases. Image: The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

Insert; Dr. Sophon Iamsirithaworn. Photo: Matichon

Front Page An mpox infected patient. Photo: Thai Rath

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