Thailand’s DDC warns of monkeypox in LGBTQ community

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News about monkeypox is circling in Thailand once more. Thailand’s Department of Disease Control (DDC) has issued a warning regarding the potential rise in monkeypox cases, particularly within the LGBTQ community. The DDC has advised reducing close skin contact and limiting the number of sexual partners to prevent the disease from spreading, Bangkok Post reported.

Jakkarat Pittayawong-anont, the director of the DDC’s epidemiology division, stated that the number of monkeypox cases appears to be stable, with only a handful of cases reported each month. However, he believes that there may be numerous unreported cases.

“Since the first case was discovered, we now have around 40 cases nationwide. Interestingly, we have seen more patients among the [homosexual] and LGBTQ group. So we would like to ask for more careful behaviour in terms of their sexual relations to help prevent the disease from spreading further,” he said.

Thailand recorded its first monkeypox case in July last year, when a 27 year old Nigerian man travelling from his home country to Phuket was diagnosed with the disease. The man was hospitalised with symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat, and runny nose, as well as rashes and lesions originating in his genital area, which had spread to other parts of his body.

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Following this case, the Ministry of Public Health issued a warning about the disease and requested cooperation from hospitals and sex clinics to report any suspected cases. Additionally, all individuals entering the country were informed about the disease and advised to notify authorities if they experienced any symptoms.

According to Dr Jakkarat, close skin-to-skin contact is the primary cause of monkeypox infections, so minimising this is the best way to prevent the disease. He also noted that monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, so wearing a condom will not prevent infection. As for vaccinations, Dr Jakkarat stated that they are not currently necessary, as the rate of infection is slow and the virus is not deadly, with all symptoms being treatable.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that monkeypox is no longer considered a global public health emergency, but urged all countries to remain vigilant. Last year, the WHO reported over 87,000 cases and 140 deaths across 111 countries.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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