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WHO expects more cases of monkeypox to emerge globally

Coronavirus May 23, 2022 09:50AM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A section of skin tissue, harvested from a lesion on the skin of a monkey, that had been infected with monkeypox virus, is seen at 50X magnification on day four of rash development in 1968. CDC/Handout via REUTERS 2/2

By Jennifer Rigby

LONDON (Reuters) - The World Health Organization said it expects to identify more cases of monkeypox as it expands surveillance in countries where the disease is not typically found.

As of Saturday, 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported from 12 member states that are not endemic for the virus, the U.N. agency said, adding it will provide further guidance and recommendations in coming days for countries on how to mitigate the spread of monkeypox.

"Available information suggests that human-to-human transmission is occurring among people in close physical contact with cases who are symptomatic", the agency added.

Monkeypox is an infectious disease that is usually mild, and is endemic in parts of west and central Africa. It is spread by close contact, so it can be relatively easily contained through such measures as self-isolation and hygiene. See EXPLAINER:

"What seems to be happening now is that it has got into the population as a sexual form, as a genital form, and is being spread as are sexually transmitted infections, which has amplified its transmission around the world," WHO official David Heymann, an infectious disease specialist, told Reuters.

Heymann said an international committee of experts met via video conference to look at what needed to be studied about the outbreak and communicated to the public, including whether there is any asymptomatic spread, who are at most risk, and the various routes of transmission.

He said the meeting was convened "because of the urgency of the situation". The committee is not the group that would suggest declaring a public health emergency of international concern, WHO's highest form of alert, which applies to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said close contact was the key transmission route, as lesions typical of the disease are very infectious. For example, parents caring for sick children are at risk, as are health workers, which is why some countries have started inoculating teams treating monkeypox patients using vaccines for smallpox, a related virus.

Many of the current cases have been identified at sexual health clinics.

Early genomic sequencing of a handful of the cases in Europe has suggested a similarity with that spread in a limited fashion in Britain, Israel and Singapore in 2018.

Heymann said it was "biologically plausible" the virus had been circulating outside of the countries where it is endemic, but had not led to major outbreaks as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns, social distancing and travel restrictions.

He stressed that the monkeypox outbreak did not resemble the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic because it does not transmit as easily. Those who suspect they may have been exposed or who show symptoms including bumpy rash and fever, should avoid close contact with others, he said.

"There are vaccines available, but the most important message is, you can protect yourself," he added.

WHO expects more cases of monkeypox to emerge globally
 

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Comments (6)
Jack Peterson
Jack Peterson May 23, 2022 9:48AM ET
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Monkeypox + Covid-19 = Corana Monkey…. Stuff your ballot! What a joke
Тони Chuk
Тони Chuk May 22, 2022 3:55AM ET
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Forex Harbingers
ForexHarbingers May 21, 2022 11:28PM ET
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This is what happens when you the draconian lockdown measures and overuse of sanitizers. Sooooo many people with subpar immune systems now. Im so glad I own my own business and didnt have to take part in all of this madness.
Jamie Kent
Jamie Kent May 21, 2022 9:48PM ET
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Mandate all the monkeys to wear masks and not to share bananas. Give them free bananas to stay in their trees instead of going out to search for food, and only allow 3 monkeys per tree. Make them take 3 or 4 rapidly developed mrna monkeypox vaccines then tell them they will get monkeypox anyways, but it should be not as bad anymore....there, problem not solved
Hui Man Keong
Hui Man Keong May 21, 2022 9:48PM ET
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🤣🤣
Cheryl Burnett
Cheryl Burnett May 21, 2022 9:48PM ET
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hahahahahahahaaaa
Paul Lavin
Paul Lavin May 21, 2022 8:43PM ET
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the WHO, CDC, and most political Democrats are in cahoots with sabotaging the markets. They are trying to create more bad news and ruin peoples day, they profit off fear.
CS Greer
CSGreer May 21, 2022 6:49PM ET
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Notice the W.H.O. never has positive news....
 
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