92 confirmed and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox were reported to WHO by 12 Member States where the disease is not endemic. The countries where WHO has registered are Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States of America. For the cases reported so far, no travel links have been established with the areas where the disease is endemic. “Based on the information currently available, cases have been identified mainly, but not exclusively, among men who have sex with men,” writes the WHO.
The situation “is evolving”, explains WHO which predicts “that there will be more cases of monkeypox identified as surveillance expands in non-endemic countries”. Immediate actions, explains the World Health Organization in a note, “focus on informing those who may be most at risk of infection with accurate information, in order to stop further spread. Current available evidence suggests that those who are most at risk are those who have had close physical contact with someone with monkeypox while they are symptomatic. “
The endemic countries of monkeypox, according to the WHO, are: Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana (identified only in animals), Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone. Benin and South Sudan have documented imports in the past. Central African countries currently reporting cases are Cameroon and Nigeria.
WHO is working to provide guidance to protect frontline health workers and other health workers who may be at risk, such as cleaners, from monkeypox infection.
WHO will provide further technical recommendations in the coming days.