WHO calls emergency meeting as European monkeypox cases top 100


© Reuters. In 1968, on the fourth day of the appearance of the rash, at 50x magnification, a section of skin tissue was seen from a lesion on the skin of a monkey infected with monkeypox virus. CDC/REUTERS Handout

Jennifer Rigby and Natalie Grover

LONDON (Reuters) – The World Health Organization was due to hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the recent outbreak of monkeypox virus infection, a virus infection more common in West and Central Africa that was previously confirmed or suspected in Europe There are more than 100 cases.

In what Germany says is Europe’s largest outbreak on record, cases have now been confirmed in at least five countries – the UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Italy – as well as the US, Canada and Australia.

The disease was first identified in monkeys, usually spread through close contact and rarely outside of Africa, so this cluster of cases has raised concerns.

However, given that the virus does not spread as easily as SARS-COV-2, scientists do not expect the outbreak to evolve into a pandemic like COVID-19.

Monkeypox is usually a mild viral disease characterized by fever and a characteristic bumpy rash.

“With several confirmed cases in the UK, Spain and Portugal, this is the largest and most widespread outbreak of monkeypox ever recorded in Europe,” the German Armed Forces medical service said on Friday, which detected the first case in the country.

Fabian Leendertz of the Robert Koch Institute described the outbreak as an epidemic.

“However, this outbreak is highly unlikely to last for long. Cases can be well isolated through contact tracing and, if needed, effective drugs and vaccines,” he said.

There is no specific vaccine for monkeypox, but according to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccines used to eradicate smallpox are up to 85 percent effective against monkeypox.

British authorities said on Thursday they had given smallpox vaccine to some health care workers and others who may have been exposed to monkeypox.

The upcoming WHO committee is the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Hazards with Pandemic and Epidemic Potential (STAG-IH), which advises WHO on the risks of infection that may pose a threat to global health.

unusual situation

Since 1970, monkeypox cases have been reported in 11 African countries. Nigeria has been experiencing a major outbreak since 2017 – so far this year, there have been 46 suspected cases, 15 of which have been confirmed, according to the World Health Organization.

The first European case was confirmed on 7 May in a person who had returned to the UK from Nigeria.

Since then, more than 100 cases have been confirmed outside Africa, according to an academic tracker at Oxford University. https://twitter.com/MOUGK/status/1527055553876348928

Many of the cases are not related to travel to the mainland. As such, the cause of the outbreak is unclear, although health authorities say there may be some level of community transmission.

In the UK, where 20 cases have now been confirmed, the UK Health Security Agency said the latest cases in the country were mainly in men identified as gay, bisexual or having sex with men.

The 14 cases identified by the Portuguese sexual health clinic also involved men who identified as gay, bisexual or MSM.

Spanish health authorities said 23 new cases were confirmed on Friday, mostly in the Madrid region, with most of the infections linked to the adult sauna outbreak.

Alessio D’Amato, health commissioner for Italy’s Lazio region, said it was too early to say whether the disease would turn into a sexually transmitted disease. The country has so far reported three cases.

Stuart Neal, professor of virology at King’s College London, added that sexual contact is, by definition, close contact.

“I think the idea that there is some kind of sexual transmission there is a little far-fetched,” he said.

Scientists are sequencing the viruses from different cases to see if they are linked, the WHO said. The agency is expected to provide an update soon.

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