WHO warns of monkeypox spread in non-endemic countries

WHO warns of monkeypox spread in non-endemic countries

United Nations

World Health Organization (WHO) head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference on the current monkeypox and COVID-19 outbreak in Geneva on Wednesday that there have been more than 1,000 cases of smallpox infection in monkeys in non-endemic countries, and that the virus has established itself. The risk is “real”. In addition, he noted that there have been confirmed cases in 29 countries without monkeypox virus transmission.

Rosamund Lewis, WHO’s monkeypox outbreak expert and technical lead, said the cases reported so far, especially in non-endemic settings, remain “mostly men who have sex with men”.

“There are now some reports of cases in women. For now, it is still possible to prevent the spread of smallpox in high-risk groups.”

ignored – The WHO chief reiterated that the “sudden and unexpected” emergence of monkeypox in these countries suggests it may have been overlooked for some time. However, he added that the spread of the virus in non-endemic countries could be stopped if infected people self-isolate at home and avoid close contact with others.

To support countries, WHO has issued guidance on surveillance and contact tracing, as well as laboratory testing and diagnosis. In the coming days, the agency will issue additional guidance on clinical care, infection prevention and control, vaccinations, and community protection.

Last week, the World Health Organization organized a meeting of more than 500 researchers to review what is known about monkeypox and identify research priorities.

“We’re also working with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), civil society organizations and the MSM community to hear their concerns and provide information on what monkeypox is and how to avoid it,” Tedros said. .

African case ——Since this year, there have been more than 1,400 suspected cases of monkeypox in Africa, where monkeypox is endemic in some countries, and 56 people have died.

Director-General of the World Health Organization Said: “This virus has been spreading and killing in Africa for decades. It’s a pity that the international community is only focusing on monkeypox now because it has emerged in high-income countries. Communities living under the threat of this virus every day deserve the same attention. , the same care and the same tools to protect yourself”.

COVID-19: Still not enough tests and vaccinations – Reported COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to fall, but there is still not enough testing and mass vaccination to say the pandemic will end anytime soon, the WHO chief said.

Tedros noted that the drop in the number of cases could be very encouraging, as rising vaccination rates have saved many lives, but the UN agency continued to urge caution.

“There is not enough testing and vaccination in the world. On average, about three-quarters of healthcare workers and people over 60 are vaccinated, but in low-income countries these rates are much lower.”

The WHO chief explained that while vaccine supplies are plentiful, 68 countries have yet to reach 40% coverage and, paradoxically, many countries with the lowest vaccination rates lack demand.

“WHO and our partners are working with countries to increase vaccination rates by bringing vaccines to people through mobile units, door-to-door campaigns and mobilizing community leaders,” Tedros said.

misunderstanding – The WHO director-general warned that “the perception that the pandemic is over is understandable but false,” noting that 7,000 people died from COVID-19 last week.

“A new and even more dangerous variant could emerge at any time, and a large number of people remain unprotected. The pandemic is not over, and we will continue to say that it is not over until it is over,” he warned.

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