WHO calls for emergency meeting as monkeypox cases pass 100 in Europe


  • Rare outbreak of viral disease outside Africa
  • Cases in the UK, Spain, Belgium, France and North America
  • The reason is still not clear
  • The World Health Organization holds an emergency meeting to discuss cases
  • With the number of cases exceeding 100, Germany says it is the largest ever in Europe

LONDON (Reuters) – The World Health Organization was scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the recent outbreak of monkeypox, a viral infection most common in West and Central Africa, after more than 100 cases were confirmed or suspected. Europe.

In what Germany has described as the largest outbreak ever in Europe, 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.

First identified in monkeys, the disease usually spreads through close contact and rarely outside Africa, so this series of cases has raised concern.

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

Monkeypox is usually a mild viral disease characterized by symptoms of fever as well as 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 in Europe,” said the German Armed Forces Medical Service, which detected its first case in the country on Friday.

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

“But this epidemic is not likely to last for a long time. Cases can be isolated well by tracing contacts and there are also effective medicines and vaccines that can be used if necessary,” he said.

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

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

The WHO Committee scheduled to meet is the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Risks with Epidemiology and Epidemiology (STAG-IH), which advises the WHO on the risks of infection that could pose a threat to global health.

unusual cases

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

The first European case was confirmed on 7 May in an individual who had returned to England from Nigeria.

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

Many of the cases are unrelated to travel to the continent. As a result, the cause of this outbreak is not clear, although health authorities have said that there is likely to be some degree of community spread.

In Britain, where 20 cases have been confirmed so far, the UK’s Health Security Agency said the latest cases in the country were mostly among men who self-identified as gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men.

The 14 cases in Portugal that were all detected in sexual health clinics are also in men who consider themselves gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men.

Spain’s health authorities said 23 new cases were confirmed on Friday, mainly in the Madrid region where most infections have been linked to an outbreak in an adult sauna. Read more

Italy’s Lazio region health commissioner, Alessio D’Amato, said it was too early to say whether the disease had turned into a sexually transmitted disease. Three cases have been reported so far in the country. Read more

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

“The idea that there’s some kind of sexual transmission in this, I think, is a bit of a stretch,” he said.

The World Health Organization said scientists are sequencing the virus from different states to see if they are linked. The agency is expected to provide an update soon.

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(Additional reporting by Jennifer Rigby and Natalie Grover in London; Twitter by NatalieGrover; Additional reporting by Emma Benido Gonzalez, Emma Farge, Catriona Dimoni and Patricia Weiss. Editing by Josephine Mason and Nick McPhee

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