Health officials continue to monitor monkeypox cases in Europe and North America

The World Health Organization (WHO) has no evidence that the monkeypox virus has mutated, a senior UN agency executive said during a briefing Monday morning, note that infectious diseases that once circulated in West and Central Africa have tended not to. change.

Dr Rosamund Lewis, head of the smallpox secretariat, of the WHO Emergencies Programme, told the press conference that mutations tend to be lower with monkeypox virus, despite the genome sequences of the schools. will help provide insights into the current outbreak.

Most of the more than 100 suspected and confirmed cases in a recent outbreak in Europe and North America are not serious, said Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for COVID-19.

“This is an avoidable situation, especially in Europe,” she said. “But we can’t take our eyes off the ball with what’s happening in Africa, in countries where the disease is endemic.”

VIEW | WHO officials on monkeypox:

WHO says monkeypox outbreak is a ‘avoidable situation’

Maria Van Kerkhove of the WHO said most cases of monkeypox observed in Europe and North America were not severe.

Outbreaks are described as atypical

On Monday, Denmark announced its first case, Portugal adjusted the total to 37, Italy reported one more and Britain 37 more.

These outbreaks are atypical, occurring in countries where the virus is not circulating frequently, according to WHO. Scientists are trying to understand the source of the cases and whether anything about the virus has changed. Monkeypox did not previously cause widespread outbreaks outside of Africa, where it was endemic in animals.

WHO is asking dermatology and primary care clinics, as well as sexual health clinics, to be on the lookout for possible cases. Van Kerkhove said she expects more cases to be identified as a result of extended surveillance.

Dr David Heymann, WHO’s top adviser and former chief of WHO’s emergency room, told The Associated Press that the unprecedented monkeypox outbreaks in Europe and North America were a “random event. ” The leading theory to explain the spread of the disease, he said, is sexual transmission at events in Spain and Belgium.

During a separate briefing held by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday afternoon, health officials said some cases are seen in North America, however, there are before events in Europe. They emphasize the outbreak is still in its early stages.

US health officials said Monday that they are aware of one confirmed case, in Massachusetts, and four possible cases – two in Utah, one in Florida and one in the city New York. All are men who have traveled outside of the U.S. Many – but not all – of those diagnosed during the current monkeypox outbreak are men who have sex with men.

“Remember, infectious diseases don’t care about borders or social networks,” said Dr John Brooks, CDC medical epidemiologist. “Some groups may have a higher chance of exposure right now, but that doesn’t mean that monkeypox exposure risk is currently exclusive to the gay and bisexual community in the United States.”

CDC officials say the United States is in the process of releasing several doses of Jynneos vaccine for use in monkeypox cases, noting that there are more than 1,000 doses in the national stockpile. They also said they expect that level to rise very quickly in the coming weeks.

The virus spreads through close contact

This virus does not usually spread easily from person to person, but it can be transmitted through close person-to-person contact or contact with items used by a person with monkeypox, such as clothing. , bed or furniture.

Dr Mike Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, said: “In essence, sexual activity involves intimate contact, which one would expect to increase the likelihood of transmission, regardless of the nature of the sexual activity. regardless of a person’s sexual orientation and any mode of transmission”.

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