WHO: situation evolves, other infections expected
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 action, explains the World Health Organization in a statement, “focuses 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 symptomatic with monkeypox. “
Vaccines against smallpox, Italy has five million. Now they leave no scars
by Elena Dusi
21 Maggio 2022
92 confirmed cases in 12 countries
92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox reported to WHO by 12 Member States where the disease is not endemic: they are Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United United and United States. For the cases reported so far, no travel links have been established with 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,” the WHO writes, although there is no certainty that it is a sexually transmitted disease.
The alarm of scientists: bewildered by the spread of the disease
Scientists who have monitored numerous monkeypox outbreaks in Africa say they are baffled by the recent spread of the disease in Europe and North America. In the past, cases of this smallpox-related disease had only been found among people with ties to Central and West Africa. But in the past week, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the United States, Sweden and Canada have reported infections, mostly in young men who had not previously traveled to Africa.
“I am amazed by this situation. Every day I wake up and there are other infected countries,” said Oyewale Tomori, a virologist who formerly headed Nigeria’s Academy of Sciences and sits on several WHO advisory committees. “This isn’t the kind of spread we’ve seen in West Africa, so there may be something new in the West,” he said. So far, no one has died in the outbreak. Monkeypox typically causes fever, chills, rashes, and lesions on the face or genitals.
WHO estimates the disease to be fatal for one in 100 people, but smallpox vaccines are protective and some antiviral drugs are in development. UK authorities said that due to the recent increase in cases and uncertainty about how monkeypox is transmitted, they are working with international hospitals and partners to see if there has been a similar increase in cases elsewhere.
Some British health experts advise doctors treating patients who develop rashes “without a clear alternative diagnosis” to see a specialist, even if the risk to the general population is low. Most people recover from the disease within a few weeks.
According to the WHO, Nigeria records around 3,000 cases of monkeypox annually. Outbreaks usually occur in rural areas, when people come into close contact with infected rats and squirrels, Tomori said. The WHO director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge, also described the outbreak as “atypical”, saying that the emergence of the disease in so many countries on the continent suggests that “transmission has been going on for some time.”