“We are concerned. The risk of settling in non-endemic countries is real”, warns WHO

The outbreak of smallpox infections in monkeys deserved, this Wednesday, the World Health Organization’s alarm at a press conference. “The risk of monkey pox establishing itself in non-endemic countries is real. The WHO is particularly concerned about the risks of this virus to vulnerable groups, ”explained WHO Director – General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “But this scenario can be avoided. The WHO urges affected countries to do everything possible to identify all cases and contacts to control this outbreak and prevent the spread of monkey pox.”

There is still no explanation for the emergence of this new outbreak. “The sudden and unexpected occurrence of monkey pox in several non-endemic countries suggests that infection may have been undetected for some time. How long we do not know.” “More than a thousand cases have been confirmed in 29 countries that are not endemic to the disease. So far, no deaths have been reported in those countries.”

“It is clearly worrying that monkey pox is spreading in countries where they have not been seen before. At the same time, we must remember that so far this year there have been more than 1,400 suspected smallpox cases in Africa and 66 deaths. ”

Despite the near-zero mortality rate, the WHO calls for vigilance and care. “There are effective ways people can protect themselves and others – people with symptoms should isolate themselves at home and consult a healthcare professional. Anyone sharing a house with an infected person should avoid close contact,” he said. “There are approved antivirals. vaccines against monkey pox, but there is a limit to the supply. The WHO is developing a coordinated mechanism for the distribution of vaccines based on health needs and in a fair way. “

“Post-exposure vaccination, ideally within four days of exposure, may be considered by some countries for close higher-risk contacts, such as sexual partners, same-family family members, and health professionals,” the WHO recommended.

“Most, but not only, cases have been reported among men who have sex with men. Some countries have begun to report cases of apparent transmission to society, including some cases in women.”

“Last week, the WHO organized a consultation with more than 500 investigators to review what we know and do not know, and identify research priorities,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who criticized global passivity.

“This virus has been circulating and killing in Africa for decades. It is an unfortunate reflection of the world we live in that the international community is only now beginning to pay attention because monkey pox has emerged in high-income countries.” “To support countries, the WHO has issued guidance on monkey pox monitoring and contact tracking; laboratory and diagnostic tests. In the coming days, we will issue guidelines on clinical care, infection prevention and control, vaccination; and more guidance on community protection. “

The monkey cup outbreak came at a time when we are still experiencing a Covid-19 pandemic, the WHO warned. “The perception that the Covid-19 pandemic is over is understandable, but wrong. More than 7,000 people lost their lives due to this virus last week. A new and even more dangerous variant could emerge at any time, and a large numbers of people remain unprotected. ” “Globally, the number of reported cases and deaths from Covid-19 continues to decline. This is clearly a very encouraging trend – rising vaccination rates are saving lives – but the WHO continues to urge caution. There are not enough tests and there are not enough vaccinations , ”He revealed.

At the press conference, there was still time to address the mysterious hepatitis that has affected children around the world. “The WHO receives reports of this unexplained hepatitis in children every year, but some countries have indicated that they have seen higher than expected,” he acknowledges. “WHO continues to monitor reports of hepatitis of unknown cause in children. More than 700 probable cases have been reported in 34 countries. A further 112 cases are under investigation. At least 38 cases required liver transplantation and 10 deaths. WHO continues to work with countries to Investigate the cause of these children. So far, the five viruses that commonly cause hepatitis have not been detected in any of these cases. “

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