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MPOX/Taiwan reports 1st mpox death

11/07/2023 07:26 PM
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A special clinic offering mpox vaccine shots is seen in this photo taken at National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei in this photo taken in May, 2023. CNA file photo
A special clinic offering mpox vaccine shots is seen in this photo taken at National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei in this photo taken in May, 2023. CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) Taiwan on Tuesday reported the nation's first death from mpox involving a Taiwanese man in his 30s, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The man from northern Taiwan, who was also infected with HIV, sought medical attention for a skin ulcer in August, and returned again in early September after his condition had deteriorated, CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said at a press briefing.

Due to having a weak immune system, his skin condition had gotten worse, combined with candidiasis infection in the mouth, Lin said.

Subsequent tests confirmed that he contracted mpox in addition to his HIV diagnosis, Lin said.

During hospitalization, the patient later developed Intraperitoneal infection and septic failure, and was pronounced dead on Nov. 1 as his conditions failed to improve, Lin said.

Mpox often comes with mild symptoms, including fever and rash that can last between two to four weeks, while most patients can recover from the illness in a few weeks, Lin said.

However, it is possible for children or people with weakened immune systems to develop pneumonia, arthritis and complicated infections such as sepsis, Lin added.

A CDC educational graphic on mpox. Source: CDC
A CDC educational graphic on mpox. Source: CDC

Sheng Wang-huei (盛望徽), director of National Taiwan University Hospital's Department of Medical Education, said similarities in the course of mpox and HIV infections have been reported in the international community.

The mortality rate of mpox is about 0.1-0.2 percent, Sheng said, indicating that in the case of those also infected by HIV with a weakened immune system, the death rate is about 7 percent.

People with HIV who have the virus under control but contracted mpox, however, the risk of having severe symptoms or death is as low as any normal person, he said.

Since mpox was designated a Category 2 communicable disease last June, Taiwan has reported 355 mpox cases, with 338 transmitted locally and 17 abroad, CDC spokesperson Tseng Shu-hui (曾淑慧) said.

Among the 338 domestic cases, New Taipei was ranked with the majority of cases with 83, followed by 55 in Taipei and 49 in Kaohsiung, Tseng added.

(By Tseng Yi-ning and Ko Lin)

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