Global mpox spread continues at in China, Thailand: WHO

Mpox continues to spread, although at low levels, in parts of Asia, specifically in China and Thailand, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) Mpox (formerly known as Monkeypox) continues to spread, although at low levels, in parts of Asia, specifically in China and Thailand, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In its latest monthly update, the WHO said the number of weekly cases reported globally increased by 328 per cent in the week to 10 September. The sustained transmission are mainly occurring in the Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions.

About 22 of the 115 affected countries have reported new cases to WHO within the last 21 days, the global health agency said. Of all reported modes of transmission, sexual encounter is the most common, comprising 18,011 of

21,830 (82.5 per cent) of all reported transmission events, followed by person-to-person non-sexual contact; this pattern has persisted over the last 12 weeks.

On September 8, China reported a batch of 501 new cases that were recorded in August, similar to what the country reported in July. In June 106 cases were reported.

The WHO added that China has reported cases from 25 of 31 provinces and that the epidemiologic picture fits with the global outbreak pattern of transmission mainly in men who have sex with men.

The WHO also noted that Thailand has also reported a significant rise in mpox cases in recent months, — 48 new cases in June, 80 in July and 145 in August.

In Africa, where mpox is regularly reported, cases declined during the reporting period, but the WHO said it’s unclear if the drop is due to a decrease in cases or reporting delays.

In May amid an ongoing drop in cases, the WHO ended the public health emergency of international concern for mpox, and in August, its emergency committee issued standing recommendations to help countries battle the virus.

According to the WHO, for the general population in countries not affected prior to the current outbreak is assessed as low. For general population in countries with historical mpox transmission and their neighbouring countries is assessed as moderate.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has started treating mpox under the same protocols as Covid-19, meaning that the authorities can take emergency measures such as restricting gatherings to curb the spread of the disease.

“Mpox can be prevented by avoiding sexual contact with unfamiliar individuals, avoiding close contact with those with rashes, vesicles, or pustules, washing hands frequently, and not sharing personal items with others,” said Dr Sophon Iamsirithavorn, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control.

–IANS

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