Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released guidelines on monkeypox risk assessment and corresponding control measures on Saturday, one day after the country reported its first case of the viral disease.
According to the guidelines, the three threat levels high, medium and low are mainly determined according to proximity between confirmed cases and their contacts.
Contacts considered to be at high risk are those who live with the case, their sexual partners, or people who may have come into contact with personal items polluted with patients’ bodily fluids and secretions without protection, among others.
They need to report back to the CDC about their health conditions every day for 21 days after their last contact with the case, and can continue to work if they do not develop symptoms, according to the guidance.
However, they should avoid contact with pregnant women, children, or people with weak immune systems, as well as sexual activities and blood donation, the CDC said.
People who are considered to be medium risk contacts include medical personnel who shared the same space with the case, at a distance of less than 2 meters for more than three hours with no proper protection like masks, and passengers who sat next to a case, the guidance said.
Those people are required to follow a similar disease control protocol as those with high risks, except that they only need to carry out self-health monitoring instead of reporting back to the CDC.
Meanwhile, low risk contacts are people who wore proper protection when they were with a case, or those who shared the same space with the case and were within 2 meters of the case for less than three hours without protection, according to the guidelines. Other contacts such as those who engaged in outdoor activities or live in the neighbourhood as a case are also considered to be at low risk, the CDC said, adding that no specific disease control is necessary for them.
Taiwan reported its first monkeypox case on June 24, a man in his 20s who recently returned from Germany.
On June 20, four days after the man returned to Taiwan, the man developed symptoms that included a fever, sore throat, muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes in the groin, and a skin rash, the CDC said.
Under the guidelines, nine people have been listed as his contacts, who were considered to be either at medium or low risk and whose health conditions will continue to be monitored until July 14, the CDC said.
Category 2 communicable disease
On June 23, the CDC officially designated monkeypox as a category 2 communicable disease, citing the global spread of the viral disease.
The designation means that physicians are now required to report confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox to the CDC within 24 hours.
Other category 2 communicable diseases in Taiwan include dengue fever, Zika fever, typhoid fever, measles, and Chikungunya.