WHO is expecting more cases of monkey pox internationally

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The World Health Organization (WHO) expects other cases of smallpox to be detected as it expands surveillance to countries where the disease is not endemic.

As of Saturday, 92 confirmed and 28 suspected cases of smallpox were reported from 12 Member States where the virus is not endemic, the UN agency said, adding that it would provide further guidance and recommendations in the coming days to limit its spread.

“The information available indicates that human-to-human transmission occurs when there is close contact with asymptomatic infected people,” the WHO said in a statement.

Smallpox, an infectious disease that usually has mild symptoms, is endemic to parts of western and central Africa. It is spread through close contact, which means that it can be limited relatively easily, by isolation and observance of hygiene rules.

“What seems to be happening is that it has been transmitted to the population as a sexually transmitted disease, and it is spreading, as is generally the case with sexually transmitted diseases (…) around the world,” David Haymanke told Reuters. diseases in the WHO.

Mr Hayman said an international panel of experts met via video conference to discuss what needs to be studied about the outbreak and what information needs to be provided to the public, including whether there is an asymptomatic spread of the virus, who is at risk and what the ways are. transmission.

He added that the meeting was convened because of the “urgency of the situation”. This committee is not the one that will propose the declaration of an international state of emergency, the highest level of alert of the WHO, as when the pandemic of the new coronavirus occurred.

Mr. Hayman noted that close contact is the main route of transmission, as the skin rashes that are caused are highly contagious. Especially parents caring for sick children are at high risk, as are healthcare providers, which explains why some countries vaccinate staff caring for patients with smallpox, a related virus.

Several cases have been reported in sexual health clinics.

The initial sequencing of the genome based on samples of some cases in Europe showed that the strain of the virus has similarities to the one that had spread in the most limited way in Britain, Israel and Singapore in 2018.

The expert considered that the case that the virus was already circulating outside the countries where it is endemic is “reasonable” but there were no outbreaks due to lockdowns, social distance and travel restrictions imposed due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

He insisted that the situation was not similar to that in the first period after the detection of the new coronavirus, because the smallpox of monkeys is not transmitted so easily. “Those who suspect they may have been exposed to the virus, or have symptoms such as fever or rash, should avoid close contact with others,” he said.

“Vaccines are available, but the most important message is that you can protect yourself,” concluded David Hayman.

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Source: Capital

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