Monkeypox may be spreading to dozens of nations but is not yet considered a global health emergency, the World Health Organization said Saturday.
However, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said monkeypox was developing rapidly and advised governments around the world to step up their surveillance, contact tracing and testing, CNBC reported. He also urged world leaders to ensure high-risk people have access to vaccines and antiviral treatments.
The WHO has said mass vaccination is not currently recommended to stop monkeypox. The US is offering vaccines to people at high risk of exposure to the virus and has been sending doses to New York amid a surge in cases.
A total of 87 people in New York had tested positive as of Friday, up from 78 on Thursday, according to the city’s health department.
The WHO met on an emergency basis to determine the threat level of monkeypox. At least 3,000 cases of monkeypox have been identified in more than 50 countries since early May, according to WHO data.
The US has reported 460 confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox in 32 states and Washington DC, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At stake was the possibility that the WHO Emergency Committee would activate the organization’s highest alert level – similar to that set in motion by COVID-19.
Tedros said the outbreak is worrying because it’s spreading quickly outside of remote parts of West and Central Africa, where it usually occurs. In the current outbreak, 84% of the global cases reported are in Europe, which is rare.
“What makes the current outbreak of particular concern is the rapid, sustained spread into new countries and regions and the risk of further, sustained transmission to vulnerable populations, including those with compromised immune systems, pregnant women and children,” Tedros said in a statement on Saturday.
Exactly how and why monkeypox — which is typically transmitted from an infected animal to a human host — emerged and spread across continents remains a mystery.
Historically, most cases have come from west and central Africa after coming into contact with an infected animal — mostly rodents, scientists believe, but occasionally non-human primates as well.
Monkeypox spreads primarily through close physical contact with an infected person or through contaminated materials such as shared clothing or bed sheets. The virus can spread through respiratory droplets if the sick person has lesions in the throat or mouth. However, this requires ongoing face-to-face contact, and unlike Covid-19, monkeypox is believed not to spread through aerosol particles.
The monkey outbreak primarily affects gay and bisexual men who reported having had sex with new or multiple partners, the WHO said.
The disease often begins with flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, limbs, chills, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes. A pimple-like rash or blisters then appear on the body. People are most contagious when they have the rash.
According to the CDC, there are no treatments specifically for monkeypox, but antiviral drugs and vaccines designed to treat smallpox can treat and prevent infection.
https://nypost.com/2022/07/02/who-says-monkeypox-not-a-current-serious-threat/ According to the WHO, monkeypox does not currently pose a serious threat