Vietnam reports first monkeypox death

By Le Phuong   October 24, 2023 | 08:42 pm PT
Vietnam reports first monkeypox death
An electron microscopic (EM) image shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virus particles as well as crescents and spherical particles of immature virions, obtained from a clinical human skin sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak in this undated image obtained by Reuters on May 18, 2022. Photo by Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery/CDC/Handout via Reuters
A 29-year-old immunocompromised man has died 18 days after being diagnosed with monkeypox, becoming the first patient of the disease to die in Vietnam.

The patient lived in Long An Province that borders HCMC and was admitted to the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases after getting fevers and blisters for nine days, vice director of the HCMC Department of Health Nguyen Van Vinh Chau said Wednesday. He later tested positive for monkeypox.

The patient also had a severely compromised immune system due to HIV. During treatments, he was infected with Candida, had pneumonia, which later progressed into septic shock and multiple organ failure.

The patient was treated with ventilators, blood filtration, antibiotics and other drugs. However, due to his severe infections, the patient died after 18 days.

The man is the first recorded monkeypox death in both HCMC and Vietnam.

The HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases is currently treating 20 cases of monkeypox, 18 of whom also have HIV. Doctors said monkeypox spread to people in ways similar to HIV, including contact with infected blisters and sexual intercourse.

Those who contract monkeypox usually recover, but the disease often progress, even to life-threatening degrees for those with compromised immune systems, such as people with HIV/AIDS, cirrhosis or diabetes. Severe complications include widespread damage on the skin, especially at the mouth, eyes and genitalia, leading to further infections.

Waves of monkeypox infections began in May 2022, appearing in countries which never saw the virus before, like the U.S., the U.K., Sweden and Belgium. So far, over 90,000 infected cases have been confirmed. Death rates can be as high as 11%. The World Health Organization (WHO) on July 23, 2022 declared a global health emergency over monkeypox outbreak as infections rose globally.

Vietnam's first two cases of monkeypox were confirmed in October 2022, but they contracted the virus abroad after returning from Dubai, and were immediately quarantined upon return to Vietnam.

The country currently has no vaccine or cure for monkeypox.

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