Mpox: Chinese health officials step up control measures as cases rise

In July last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the mpox outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern”. The WHO reversed the designation in May this year.

According to the CDC website, there were 501 confirmed cases across 25 provinces in August. That compared with 491 cases in July and 106 in June. Authorities said there had so far been no severe or fatal cases.


On the CDC website, experts highlighted challenges to control the spread of the disease, noting that the virus had spread quietly through sexual transmission among men. About 80 per cent of those cases were isolated, making transmission tracing difficult, while a steady influx of cases from abroad had created greater risk, authorities said.

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Mpox, which is caused by the virus MPXV, is a viral zoonosis, in which the main symptoms are fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes. The disease, which has been prevalent in Central and West Africa, has a fatality rate of between 1 to 10 per cent. Since January 2022, more than 87,000 mpox cases have been reported globally in 111 countries and regions, resulting in 140 deaths.

“This round of outbreak exhibits several characteristics: 98.9 per cent of the cases are male, with 92.5 per cent being confirmed as MSM [men who have sex with men]. All five female cases had histories of sexual contact with men within 21 days before the onset,” according to epidemiological investigations detailed on the CDC website.

“Transmission mainly happens through sexual contact; only one individual has been infected through non-sexual close contact.”

mpox chinese health officials step up control measures as cases rise 1


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“A significant majority of cases, 93.2 per cent, were identified through voluntary medical consultations, followed by 5.3 per cent that were discovered through close contact tracing, while others were discovered through voluntary reporting and physical examinations,” the website said.


“Most cases exhibit typical clinical symptoms including fever, vesicles and swollen lymph nodes, with no severe or fatal cases reported.”

Hong Kong can expect more mpox cases after surge in mainland China: experts

Surveillance data shows that the genotypes of mpox viruses detected in China all belong to the group IIB (West African clade), which is mainly prevalent in some countries in Europe, North America and Asia.


The WHO noted that while the transmission of mpox mainly occurs among homosexual, bisexual and other MSM populations through sexual contact, the severity of symptoms can vary significantly, but most individuals infected with mpox can recover fully.


South China Morning Post

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