Experts call for calm as four more monkeypox cases were confirmed in two Chinese cities
Published: Jul 08, 2023 03:54 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

Authorities in Changsha and Tianjin reported four monkeypox cases on Friday, with total cumulative cases on the Chinese mainland reportedly reaching 10. 

Three monkeypox cases were identified in Changsha, Central China's Hunan on July 5, local health authorities confirmed Friday, saying that they have launched epidemiological investigation and the cases - three males aged 24, 28 and 38 — are receiving treatment in designated hospitals. They are all in stable condition,  authorities said.

Also on Friday, another monkeypox case was confirmed in North China's Tianjin Municipality. The infected individual is receiving treatment in a designated hospital and is in a stable condition, according to local officials. 

On Tuesday, authorities in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning Province reported a monkeypox case, the sixth monkeypox case reported in the Chinese mainland since September 2022.

Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It can cause a painful rash, enlarged lymph nodes and fever. Most people can fully recover, however the severity of symptoms varies, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 

In May 2022, an outbreak of monkeypox appeared suddenly and rapidly spread across Europe, the Americas and then all six WHO regions, with 110 countries and regions reporting about 87, 000 cases and 112 deaths. The global outbreak has affected primarily,  but not limited to gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and has spread person-to-person through sexual contact, WHO said in a release in April.

WHO declared monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) in July 2022 and announced end of the situation in May 2023.

Despite a decreasing trend in overall global cases of monkeypox, some countries and regions are seeing an increase in reported cases, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

In June, the Chinese mainland reported four cases of the disease — two from Beijing and two from Guangzhou. Two cases were also reported from Sri Lanka, in patients who had a travel history to Dubai. Earlier this year, monkeypox was also detected in Thailand, China's Taiwan island, Pakistan and Japan, according to media reports.

Continuous reporting of monkeypox cases triggered public concern in China over wider spread of the disease in the country. Experts have called for calm saying the disease is unlikely to lead to a large-scale spread as the disease is comparatively easy to detect, control and treat.

We have noticed that there have been increasing cases of monkeypox in China, but this will not cause large-scale transmission, because the risk of monkeypox transmission is relatively easy to control, thanks to rapid detection kits and effective isolation measures. A monkeypox infection basically does not appear asymptomatically, experts told local media.

The main channel of transmission of monkeypox is sexual or intimate contact and, at present, the main infected population is men having sex with other men which represents about 95 percent of all cases according to WHO, Zhuang Shilihe, a medical expert based in Guangzhou, South China's Guangzhou Province, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Frequent, unprotected sex was the leading cause of monkeypox infections over the past year, and this high risk behavior also lead to a high incidence of other sexually transmitted diseases, which may also promote the spread of monkeypox, Zhuang said, while noting that for most of the population, the risk of being infected with the monkeypox virus is low.