How high is the risk of infection? WHO responds

Today, Monday, health authorities said that the risk of transmission of monkeypox virus infection is “very low” among the general population, and may stop in countries where the disease is not endemic, after an increase in cases in Europe and North America.

until May 21, WHO has been notified of 92 confirmed cases of monkeypox and 28 suspected cases, detected in 12 non-endemic countries.including many of the European Union, the United States, Australia and Canada.

The agency fears that the disease, which is endemic to some areas of Central and West Africa, will spread. According to the World Health Organization, This is the first time that cases have been recorded simultaneously in many countries and among people who have not traveled to areas in Africa, where the disease is endemic.

But at the same time, the UN agency stresses that the outbreak can be controlled in non-endemic countries and thus stop human-to-human transmission.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) also relayed concerns among the population and on Monday confirmed that the risk of infection was “very low” in the general population, Although it is “high” among people with multiple sexual partners.

Monkeypox, which is not usually fatal, can cause fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and fatigue. Then there are rashes (on the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet), lesions, blisters, and finally crusts.

There is no cure for monkeypox. But its symptoms usually disappear after two or three weeks.

“Be vigilant”

We want to stop the transmission of infection from person to person. “We can do it in non-endemic countries (…) It’s a controllable situation,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, who is responsible for combating COVID-19 at the World Health Organization.

“We are in a position where we can turn to public health tools for early detection and supervised isolation of cases,” he explained. “We can stop the transmission of infection between humans,” he stressed.

The expert noted that transmission occurred through “close physical contact: skin-to-skin contact”. Most of the cases have mild symptoms, said Andrea Ammon, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the first risk assessment since the unusual onset of the disease. “For the general population, the probability of infection is extremely low,” he added in a statement.

However, the possibility of the virus spreading further through close contacts is considered high; For example, in sexual acts or between people who have multiple sexual partners“, he added.

Despite the low risk of infection, Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said it was important to “remain vigil”, with effective methods of tracing and diagnosis.

According to the ECDC, The virus can develop a severe form of the disease in some groups such as “young children, pregnant women and people who are immunosuppressed”.

The agency also warned of the risk of “human-to-animal transmission” and said that if the virus spreads to animals, “there is a risk that the disease will become endemic to Europe.”

“We’re ready”

US President Joe Biden has also said that the US has enough vaccine to deal with a possible outbreak of monkeypox and that “extra efforts” are not needed to prevent its spread.

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Biden was questioned about whether he would quarantine patients for several weeks after several cases were discovered in North America and Europe.

“No, I don’t think so. There have been many cases of this monkeypox in the past.”He said at a press conference in Tokyo after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Biden added that the United States has the vaccines in place and “it does not seem necessary to impose any kind of extra effort.”

During his first trip to Asia as president, Biden repeated his call for people to be careful, but he stated that The situation does not require the same global emergency response as it did with the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t think it will reach the level of concern it was with Covid-19,” he said, adding that he believed the United States had a sufficient stockpile of smallpox vaccine.

*With information from Agence France-Presse.

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