The Department of Disease Control is concerned about the rise in mpox cases, or monkeypox, in Thailand, especially the growth in infections among young people.
DDC director-general Tares Krassanairawiwong said as of Aug 31, there were 316 mpox cases reported in Thailand, and one death. Of the 316 patients, 271 (85.5%) identified as homosexual and 143 of the patients (about 45%) were HIV positive.
Dr Tares said 277 of the patients were Thai citizens and 36 were foreign nationals. The other three did not disclose their citisenship. He said 198 cases were reported in Bangkok, 22 in Chon Buri, 17 in Nonthaburi, and 12 in Samut Prakan.
The department was also concerned by the increasing rate of infection, which had roughly doubled each month since May. According to DDC figures, 22 cases were reported in May, 48 in June, 80 in July and 145 in August.
The largest number of cases involved individuals aged 30-39 years, followed by 20-29 years. However, the number of younger patients aged 15-24 had grown significantly, Dr Tares said.
Deputy director-general Sophon Iamsirithaworn said while the majority of mpox cases were men of working age, 16 minors were among those infected in August.
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Control Region 6, which oversees Chon Buri, one of the minors infected was a 16-year-old student who admitted to having had sexual contact with multiple partners before developing symptoms on Aug 6.
He was admitted to hospital on Aug 14, where attending physicians found his lymph nodes were already swollen. He also reported pain around his genitals.
No mpox infection had been found among his family members, although close associates and relatives were told to quarantine for 21 days.
Dr Sophon advised people to avoid unsafe sex with multiple partners and to learn about the disease, to prevent if spreading further.
Common symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, headaches, sore throat and back pain. More information can be found on the DDC’s hotline, 1422.