Experts say spread mostly found among gay men, and chances of outbreak low
China reported 106 monkeypox infections between June 2 and 30, but the virus' spread is primarily among sexual contact between men, and the possibility of a large-scale domestic outbreak is low, health experts said.
The southern province of Guangdong reported 48 cases, while Beijing reported 45. The remaining cases were detected in Jiangsu, Hubei, Shandong and Zhejiang provinces, according to a report released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.
No severe cases or deaths were reported, it added.
"The majority of cases were found among men who have sex with men, suggesting the virus is mainly transmitted through homosexual contact," said the China CDC. "The risk of infection through other contact is low, and most nonsexual close contacts have not been infected."
It added that most of those who contracted the virus were detected when they visited hospitals, and their main symptoms were fever and swollen lymph nodes.
Shi Guoqing, deputy director of the China CDC's emergency operations center, said during a group interview on Friday that only one of the 374 nonsexual close contacts ended up getting infected, and that person shared a bed with a confirmed case.
"Compared to the transmission of COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory diseases, the spread of the monkeypox virus is slow. There will likely be isolated clusters of infection, but the possibility of widespread infection is low," Shi said.
"The monkeypox control strategy should focus on stepping up awareness campaigns and strengthening multichannel surveillance of medical institutions, key groups and inbound and outbound travelers," he said, adding that inbound passengers do not need to provide negative test results for monkeypox.
Shi said that confirmed cases and people suspected of contracting the virus should be transferred to designated hospitals for isolation and treatment. Some of those with mild infections can consider home isolation.
There is no need for close contacts of cases to isolate, but they should avoid sexual contact and monitor their health for 21 days.
Li Tongzeng, a doctor in the respiratory and infectious disease department at Beijing YouAn Hospital, said that most monkeypox cases are mild or moderate, and patients are able to recover without special intervention.
"Globally, the hospitalization rate for monkeypox stands at around 6 percent, and 0.1 percent require admission to intensive care units," he said.
The World Health Organization said in a report released on Friday that 112 countries and regions reported nearly 88,300 confirmed monkeypox cases between Jan 1,2022 and July 11, 2023, including 149 deaths.
The WHO declared the current monkeypox outbreak a global public health emergency in July 2022 but lifted the designation in May.