Monkeypox outbreak: Thailand witnesses spike in cases within the LGBTQ+ community

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A significant rise in monkeypox cases within Thailand was reported by health officials this week, issuing a stern warning for men within the gay community, who seemed to be at an increased risk, to exercise necessary precautions amidst the ongoing monkeypox outbreak.

Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, heading the Department of Disease Control, disclosed in today’s press conference that, following the occurrence of the country’s inaugural monkeypox case in July of the previous year, an additional 91 infections have since been logged. He said…

“It is alarming that last month alone, we saw a horrifying spike with around 48 new cases. This is approximately 2.3 times the figures recorded in May, which stood at only 21 cases.”

The director-general further noted that the 48 recent diagnoses were all within the gay, LBGTQ+ community, and shockingly, nearly half of them, translating into 22 individuals or 45.8%, had a history of HIV infection.

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A breakdown of the 48 fresh monkeypox outbreak cases showed a majority of Thai nationals with representation standing at 41, the rest being foreign occupants. Thurty-eight of these new cases live in the capital city, Bangkok, while three cases were found in Samut Prakan, two in Chon Buri, two in the Nonthaburi regions and a single case each from Pathum Thani, Phuket, and Samut Sakhon, reported Bangkok Post.

Dr Tares detailed that the majority of the new monkeypox outbreak cases seemingly manifested in individuals indulging in unprotected intercourse or engaging in intimate relations with strangers prior to falling ill. He added on a positive note that no severe symptom development or death had been observed amongst the patients.

The director-general sternly warned…

“This illness can be proactively avoided by resisting close association with infected patients or individuals displaying potential signs of monkeypox infection, in addition to refraining from sexual relations with unknown individuals.”

He further advised potential risk groups to be cognisant of potential symptoms such as the development of rashes around their sexual organs, anus, mouth, or general body area or the onset of flu-like symptoms. These include a common cold, headache, muscle strain and swollen lymph nodes, which might surface within 21 days following contact with infected patients. In light of the monkeypox outbreak, he urged individuals demonstrating any signs to seek urgent medical intervention.

Deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control, Dr Sophon Iamsirithaworn, attributed the exponential spread of the monkeypox outbreak in June to the risk-infused behaviours observed among reproductive-age men, particularly those engaging in same-sex relations.

Thailand News

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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