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Taiwan reports 1st Mpox death

Man in his 30s had severely compromised immune system, also diagnosed with HIV

Colorized transmission electron micrograph of Mpox virus particles. (Flickr, NIAID image)

Colorized transmission electron micrograph of Mpox virus particles. (Flickr, NIAID image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday (Nov. 7) announced the country's first death from Mpox.

In a press release, the CDC said the case was a man from northern Taiwan in his 30s who had not been vaccinated against the disease. In August, he developed skin ulcers associated with the disease.

However, he did not seek medical treatment until Sept. 11, when he was diagnosed with Mpox. At the time of his medical visit, his immune system was severely compromised and his body exhibited extensive abscesses and gangrene.

He also had concurrent symptoms of opportunistic infections, including oral candidiasis. He was subsequently tested for and confirmed with HIV.

The hospital provided ongoing treatment for Mpox and HIV, including antiviral medication and multiple surgical debridement procedures. However, despite treatment, his immune condition remained poor, and he experienced severe opportunistic infections.

His condition began to deteriorate on Oct. 22 and he died on Nov. 1.

As of Nov. 6, a total of 355 Mpox cases have been confirmed in the country including 338 local cases and 17 imported cases. Of these infections, 343 have recovered and 12 are undergoing self-health management at home.

According to the CDC, the Mpox outbreak continues internationally. Western Pacific and Southeast Asian regions have seen a significant increase in cases since July.

There are also signs of resurgence in Europe since September and the Americas continue to experience a persistent outbreak. Presently, the local Mpox cases in Taiwan are sporadic, but the risk of transmission continues.

Although most patients exhibit mild symptoms, patients with poor immune status (especially those with CD4 counts less than 200 cells/mm3) can still develop severe symptoms, including sepsis, pneumonia, encephalitis, keratitis, vision impairment, and even death. According to the CDC, the patient in question delayed seeking medical treatment, leading to the inability to receive timely diagnosis and treatment, ultimately leading to his death.

Currently, there are 155 institutions nationwide that can provide the Mpox vaccine. Information on reservations for Mpox vaccinations can be found on the CDC website.