Twenty close contacts of Taiwan’s first case had been identified, but after the new rules were released, the number was changed to nine

  • By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday released a processing flow chart and contact tracing guidelines for the handling of monkeypox cases, after the nation’s first case of the disease was reported on Friday.

Nine close contacts of the case have been identified, and their health would be monitored for 21 days, the center said.

The first case is a man in his 20s living in southern Taiwan. He had studied in Germany from January and returned to Taiwan on Thursday last week.

Photo: CNA

Twenty close contacts of the man had been identified as of yesterday morning, but after receiving the guidelines, the local health department revised the number to nine people: three family members, five healthcare practitioners and another person.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said the close contacts have not developed any symptoms and are required to monitor their health for 21 days after they were last exposed to the man.

The contact tracing guidelines state that close contacts can be classified into three infection risk categories: high, medium and low.

High or medium-risk contacts should monitor their health for 21 days, during which they are advised to avoid contact with immunocompromised people, children and pregnant women, and avoid having sex.

Low-risk contacts would only receive educational information about the disease.

Chuang said monkeypox is more often transmitted from person to person through intimate physical contact, and can also spread through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, body fluids and respiratory droplets, but the risk of transmission while having a short meal together or in similar situations is relatively low.

Taiwan’s first case had a fever, sore throat, muscle aches, a rash and swollen lymph nodes in the groin area on Monday, the CDC said on Friday.

He sought medical attention on Tuesday and Wednesday, and was reported as a suspected case of monkeypox, the center said.

The test result was positive, so he was placed in a negative pressure-isolation room in hospital, it added.

Monkeypox is usually a mild disease, with most of those infected recovering within a few weeks without treatment, so the only treatment prescribed would be symptomatic and supportive, as there is no drug approved specifically to treat monkeypox in Taiwan, Chuang said.

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