The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a risk assessment meeting 5:00 pm yesterday as the number of Mpox patients recently increased in Korea, and announced that it would raise the crisis alert level from ‘Level 1 attention’ to ‘Level 2 caution’ today.
At the risk assessment meeting, although the global incidence is declining, the outbreak continues to spread in neighboring countries such as Japan and Taiwan, and the situation where the frequency of occurrence is increasing than before, such as the recent occurrence of three confirmed cases within a week in Korea, was comprehensively reviewed.
In Japan, 8 cases were reported in 2022, but 98 cases were reported in 2023 (as of April 11), of which 97 are presumed to have occurred in the country because there is no history of overseas visits. The incidence increased from mid-February, and since March, more than 10 cases have been reported every week. In addition, in the case of Taiwan, 4 patients were reported in 2022, but 21 patients were reported in 2023 (as of 4/11), and cases of infection in the country have been confirmed since mid-February.
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However, due to the nature of the disease spread through close contact (skin contact, sexual contact, etc.) with the confirmed person, the possibility of a large-scale outbreak in the general population is low, most patients recover naturally, and sufficient countermeasures such as treatment and diagnosis are secured. Considering this, the impact on the public health system was evaluated to be limited.
In accordance with the elevation of the crisis alert level, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) strengthens response measures, such as upgrading the currently operating Mpox task force (Chief: Director of the Infectious Disease Crisis Response Bureau) to the Central Defense Countermeasure Headquarters (Head: Director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and local governments are strengthening response measures. A regional quarantine countermeasure team centered on the outbreak area and adjacent areas is planned.
Meanwhile, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that one additional Mpox confirmed patient was confirmed after the crisis assessment meeting. The 9th confirmed patient is a Korean living in Gyeonggi-do, who visited a medical institution with symptoms of skin lesions on April 12. The medical institution suspected Mpox infection and reported it to the local public health center. Currently, he is hospitalized in isolation and is being treated, and the use of Tecovirimat treatment is also being reviewed.
The patient has no history of overseas travel within 3 weeks before the first symptom onset, and close contact was confirmed in Korea, so it is presumed to be a domestic infection.
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