Monkeypox: WHO is reassessing whether the outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern


Monkeypox: WHO is reassessing whether the outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern

In late June, the WHO Emergency Committee found that the outbreak did not meet the criteria for such a declaration.

However, as the virus continues to spread, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wants the committee to revisit the issue based on the latest data on the epidemiology and evolution of the outbreak.

Tedros said Wednesday he would convene the committee the week of July 18 or earlier if necessary.

“Regarding monkeypox, I remain concerned about the extent and spread of the virus. More than 6,000 cases have now been registered in 58 countries worldwide.” said Tedros.

“Testing remains a challenge and there is a high likelihood that a significant number of cases will go undetected,” he added. “Europe is the current epicenter of the outbreak, accounting for more than 80% of cases globally.”

Monkeypox, a viral disease, occurs primarily in central and west Africa, where the virus is endemic – but as part of the recent outbreak, the virus has spread to many regions of the world where it is not normally found.

Cases are also being reported in African countries not previously affected by the virus, and record numbers are being recorded in places where the virus is endemic, Tedros said on Wednesday. WHO teams are closely following the data, he said.

WHO is working with countries and vaccine manufacturers to coordinate the sharing of monkeypox vaccines, which are in short supply. The organization also works with groups to break the stigma surrounding the virus and spread information to keep people safe.

“I would like to especially commend those who are sharing videos online through social media channels and speaking about their symptoms and experiences with monkeypox,” he said. “This is a positive way to break down the stigma of a virus that can affect anyone.”

Early data on the outbreak suggests that gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men make up a large number of reported cases, raising concerns about the stigma attached to the disease and the LGBTQ community.

However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has the virus can be at risk.

The monkeypox virus can spread from person to person through direct contact with infectious bodily fluids or with rashes, scabs, and sores that the disease can cause. Transmission can also occur through indirect contact, e.g. B. through clothing or bed linen contaminated with the virus.

It can also spread through respiratory secretions from prolonged face-to-face contact or from intimate physical contact such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.

Symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, fatigue, and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters.

The rash goes through various stages and develops into pustules before healing.

Approximately 41,500 vaccination cycles distributed in the US

About 41,500 courses of the monkeypox vaccine Jynneos have been distributed to states and other jurisdictions in the United States, according to data released by the US Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday.

A course of Jynneos consists of two doses four weeks apart.

The Biden administration announced last week that the monkeypox vaccine distribution strategy would focus on areas with the highest case numbers and highest overall risk. The District of Columbia has by far the most reported cases per capita and has received the most vaccine doses per capita, new HHS data shows.

Vaccine distribution was also heavily concentrated in California, Illinois, and New York, specifically the three largest US cities: New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Massachusetts, Hawaii and Colorado have also received a large share of the vaccine distribution so far.

According to the data, eleven states have not received a monkeypox vaccine; none of them have reported cases to the CDC.

US monkeypox tests ramp up

Efforts are also being made to step up testing for the virus in the US.

Commercial laboratory company Labcorp will begin monkeypox testing Wednesday at its largest facility in the United States, doubling the country’s capacity to test for the virus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The aha moment when doctors discovered the first US patient in a global outbreak to have had monkeypox:
The CDC announced Wednesday that Labcorp can accept samples from anywhere in the United States for testing, and the company expects to run up to 10,000 tests a week.
The outbreak has resulted in 605 probable or confirmed cases in the United States as of Wednesday night. Cases have been reported in 34 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Three of the cases were non-US citizens.

“The ability of commercial laboratories to test for monkeypox is an important pillar in our overall strategy to combat this disease,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on Wednesday. “This will not only increase testing capacity, but will make it more convenient for providers and patients to access tests using existing provider-to-laboratory relationships.”

If someone thinks they may have monkeypox infection, a provider must order a test. “The public will not be able to go into a Labcorp lab and submit a sample,” the CDC said in its statement.

The CDC’s Laboratory Response Network has performed most of the monkeypox-specific testing in the US, but on June 22, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced that monkeypox testing will be expanded to five commercial labs: Aegis Science, Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and Sonic Healthcare.

The CDC confirmed Wednesday that it had shipped tests to the labs and that its staff were trained to administer the tests. “CDC expects more commercial labs to come online and further increase monkeypox testing capacity throughout July.”

CNN’s Deidre McPhillips and Naomi Thomas contributed to this report.

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