WHO rates risk of monkeypox as ‘moderate’

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that the international monkeypox virus outbreak was rated as “moderate” – even though the agency noted the actual number of cases “probably underestimated”.

The United Nations Health Agency (UN) said in a press release that since June 22, 2022, more than 3,400 laboratory-confirmed cases and one death have been reported to WHO from 50 countries and territories.

Most of these cases were reported in the WHO European Region, with the Americas region accounting for 11%.

The death was reported in Nigeria in the second quarter of 2022.

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A section of skin tissue taken from a lesion on the skin of a monkey infected with monkeypox virus was visible at 50x magnification on the fourth day of the rash in 1968.

A section of skin tissue taken from a lesion on the skin of a monkey infected with monkeypox virus was visible at 50x magnification on the fourth day of the rash in 1968.
(CDC/Handout via Reuters.)

“The overall risk is assessed as moderate for [the] at the global level, given that this is the first time that cases and clusters have been reported simultaneously in five WHO regions, the WHO said. an outbreak affecting several recently affected countries, as well as a somewhat atypical clinical presentation of cases. In other WHO regions, the risk is considered moderate based on epidemiological patterns, possible risk of case importation, and capacity for case detection and outbreak response.”

He stressed that for the newly affected countries, this is the first time that cases have mostly been confirmed among men who have recently had sexual contact with a new or multiple partners.

In addition, WHO announced an unexpected emergence of monkeypox around the world indicates that the virus may have been circulating below levels detectable by surveillance systems and that “sustained person-to-person transmission may have gone undetected for a period of time”.

A health worker prepares a syringe at a monkeypox vaccination clinic run by public health authorities CIUSSS in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on June 6, 2022.

A health worker prepares a syringe at a monkeypox vaccination clinic run by public health authorities CIUSSS in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on June 6, 2022.
(REUTERS/Kristin Muski)

Presentation outbreak-related monkeypox cases was “atypical”, including the presence of only a few or even one lesion, no skin lesions with anal pain and bleeding, a lesion in the genital area or perineum that does not spread, lesions appearing at different stages of development, and the appearance of lesions before fever, malaise, and others constitutional symptoms.

“The actual number of cases is likely to be an underestimate, partly due to the lack of early clinical recognition of an infection previously known only in a few countries, and limited enhanced surveillance mechanisms in many countries for a disease previously “unknown” to the majority. health systems,” the WHO said, noting that healthcare-associated infections “cannot be ruled out.”

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In response, smallpox vaccines were approved in the United States, Europe, and Canada for the treatment of monkeypox.

Following a meeting on 23 June 2022, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee advised the Director-General of WHO that the outbreak does not constitute a public health emergency of international concern at this stage.

However, the committee advised that this development be closely monitored and reviewed.

World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus makes a statement on vaccination against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during the European Union-African Union summit in Brussels, Belgium, February 18, 2022.

World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus makes a statement on vaccination against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during the European Union-African Union summit in Brussels, Belgium, February 18, 2022.
(REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool)

The WHO does not recommend measures to restrict international travel, but recommends that any person suspected or confirmed to have monkeypox should avoid non-essential travel and that those who develop an illness-like rash during travel or upon return. should be reported to a healthcare professional immediately.

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Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that more than 240 infections have now been confirmed. cases of monkeypox and orthopoxvirus in the United States