The World Health Organization said it hopes to identify more cases of monkeypox as it expands surveillance to countries where the disease is not commonly found.
As of Saturday, there have been 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox from 12 member states that are not endemic to the virus, the UN agency said, adding that it would provide further guidance and recommendations for countries in the coming days. Reducing the spread of monkeypox.
“Available information suggests that human-to-human transmission is occurring between people who are in close physical contact with symptomatic cases,” the agency said.
Monkeypox is a contagious disease that is usually mild and is endemic in parts of West and Central Africa. It spreads through close contact, so it can be controlled relatively easily through measures such as self-isolation and hygiene.
WHO official David Heyman said: “What seems to be happening now is that it has entered the population sexually, as genital, and is being spread as sexually transmitted infections, which have It has increased its transmission around the world.” An infectious disease expert told Reuters.
Heyman said an international committee of experts met via video conference to see what needs to be studied and the public informed about the outbreak, including if there is any asymptomatic spread, the most are at risk, and have different routes of transmission.
He said the meeting was called “due to the urgency of the situation”. The committee is not the group that would suggest declaring a public health emergency of international concern, the WHO’s highest alert, which applies to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said close contact was the major transmission route, as the typical lesions of the disease are very contagious. For example, parents caring for sick children are at risk, as are health workers, which is why some countries vaccinate teams treating monkeypox patients using a vaccine for smallpox, a related virus. started.
Preliminary genomic sequencing of a handful of cases in Europe has suggested similarities with the strain spread in a limited fashion in the UK, Israel and Singapore in 2018.
Heyman said it was “biologically plausible” the virus was circulating outside countries where it is endemic, but had not caused a large outbreak because of COVID-19 lockdowns, social distancing and travel restrictions.
He stressed that the monkeypox outbreak was not like the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic because it is not easily transmitted. He added that people who suspect they may have been exposed or who show symptoms including a bumpy rash and fever should avoid close contact with others.
“Vaccines are available, but the most important message is that you can protect yourself,” he said.