‘Urgency’: WHO expects more cases of monkeypox worldwide | News from the World Health Organization


 'Urgency': WHO expects more cases of monkeypox worldwide |  News from the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) expects to identify more cases of monkeypox as it expands surveillance in countries where the disease is not normally found.

As of Saturday, 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox, which are non-endemic to the virus, had been reported from 12 member states, the UN agency said, adding that it would provide further guidance and recommendations for countries to contain the disease in the coming days Spread of monkeypox.

“The available information suggests that human-to-human transmission occurs in individuals who are in close physical contact with symptomatic cases,” the agency said.

‘genital shape’

Monkeypox is an infectious disease that is usually mild and is endemic to parts of West and Central Africa. Although it belongs to the same family of viruses as smallpox, its symptoms are milder.

Patients usually recover within two to four weeks without requiring hospitalization, but the disease is occasionally fatal.

It is spread through close contact, making it relatively easy to contain through measures such as self-isolation and sanitation.

“What appears to be happening now is that it has entered the population as a sexual form, as a genital form, and is spreading as well as sexually transmitted infections, which has increased its transmission around the world,” said WHO official David Heymann , an infectious disease specialist.

Heymann said an international committee of experts met via video conference to consider what needs to be investigated and communicated to the public about the outbreak, including whether there is asymptomatic spread, those most at risk and the different routes of transmission.

He said the meeting was called “due to the urgency of the situation.” The committee is not the group that would propose declaring a public health emergency of international concern, the WHO’s highest alert level for the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said close contact is the main route of transmission because lesions typical of the disease are highly contagious. For example, parents caring for sick children are at risk, as are health workers, which is why some countries have started vaccinating teams treating monkeypox patients with vaccines against smallpox, a related virus.

Many of the current cases have been identified in sexual health clinics.

“You can protect yourself”

US President Joe Biden said Sunday the recent cases of monkeypox identified in Europe and the United States are something to “be concerned about.”

In his first public comments on the disease, Biden added: “It is worrying that there would be consequences if it spread. They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it’s something everyone should be concerned about. We’re working hard to figure out what we’re doing.”

He added that efforts are underway to determine which vaccine might be effective.

In the United Kingdom, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said new figures would be released on Monday after registering 20 cases on Friday.

When asked if community transmission was now the norm in the UK, UKHSA senior medical adviser Susan Hopkins said “absolutely”.

“We find cases that have no identified contact with an individual from West Africa, which we have seen before in that country,” she told BBC television. “We are discovering more cases every day.”

“Relatively Mild”

Hopkins said the outbreak was concentrated in urban areas, among gay or bisexual men.

“The risk to the general population at this point remains extremely low and I think people need to be vigilant,” she said, adding that the symptoms are “relatively mild” for most adults.

Early genome sequencing of a handful of cases in Europe has suggested a resemblance to the strain, which had limited spread in the UK, Israel and Singapore in 2018.

Heymann said it was “biologically plausible” that the virus had been circulating outside of the countries where it is endemic but had not resulted in major outbreaks due to COVID-19 lockdowns, social distancing and travel restrictions.

He stressed that the monkeypox outbreak did not resemble the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic because it is not as easily transmitted. Those who suspect they have been exposed, or who are showing symptoms – including a rash and fever – should avoid close contact with others.

“There are vaccines, but the most important message is that you can protect yourself,” Heymann said.

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