© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: 50x magnification of a section of skin tissue taken from a skin lesion in a monkey infected with monkeypox virus on the fourth day of rash development in 1968. CDC/REUTERS Handout
LONDON (Reuters) – The World Health Organization said it expects to detect more cases of monkeypox as it expands surveillance in countries where the disease is not usually detected.
As of Saturday, 12 member states had reported 92 confirmed and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox, which are not endemic to the virus, the UN agency said, and it will provide information for countries in the coming days. Provide further guidance and advice to help them mitigate the impact of the virus. The spread of monkeypox.
The agency added that “available information suggests that human-to-human transmission is occurring between people who have had close physical contact with a symptomatic case”.
Monkeypox is a usually mild infectious disease that is endemic in parts of West and Central Africa. It’s spread through close contact, so it’s relatively easy to control through measures like self-isolation and hygiene. See the interpreter:
WHO official David Heymann said: “What seems to be happening now is that it has entered the population as a sexual form, a genital form, and it is spreading like a sexually transmitted infection, which has been expanded its spread around the world,” an infectious disease expert told Reuters.
Hyman said an international committee of experts convened via videoconference to study what research is needed on the outbreak and communicate it to the public, including whether there is asymptomatic transmission, those most at risk and the various routes of transmission.
He said the meeting was called “because of the urgency of the situation”. The committee is not recommending the declaration of a public health emergency of international concern, the WHO’s highest form of alert for the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said close contact is the main route of transmission because the typical lesions of the disease are highly contagious. Parents and health workers caring for sick children, for example, are at risk, which is why some countries have begun using vaccines against smallpox, a related virus, to treat vaccination teams for monkeypox patients.
Many of the current cases are found in sexual health clinics.
Early genome sequencing of a small number of cases in Europe showed similarities to cases that spread in a limited manner in the UK, Israel and Singapore in 2018.
The virus, which is “biologically plausible,” has been spreading outside of endemic countries, but has not led to large outbreaks due to COVID-19 lockdowns, social distancing and travel restrictions, Hyman said.
He emphasized that the monkeypox outbreak is different from the earlier COVID-19 pandemic because it does not spread easily. Those who suspect they may have been exposed to the virus or develop symptoms such as rashes and fever should avoid close contact with others, he said.
“There are vaccines available, but the most important message is that you can protect yourself,” he added.