The leading health authority says it expects more cases of monkeypox to be detected in countries where the disease is not usually present, including Australia.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says it expects to identify more cases of monkeypox as it spreads in countries where the disease is not usually present.
Several cases of monkeypox have been detected in North America and Europe since early May, raising concerns about the spread of the disease, which is endemic in parts of Africa.
Australia is currently investigating his first case, after a man in his 40s landed in Sydney with a ‘probable’ infection, while health authorities in the province of Quebec in Canada are investigating after more than a dozen suspected cases emerged.
On Saturday, 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox were reported in 12 member states where the virus is not endemic, the UN agency said, adding that it will provide guidance and recommendations in the coming days. countries on how to mitigate the spread of monkeypox.
“Available information suggests that human-to-human transmission is occurring among people in close physical contact with symptomatic cases,” the agency said.
Biden: ‘Something to be worried about’
US President Joe Biden said on Sunday that the recent cases of monkeypox identified around the world were something “to be concerning”.
“It’s a concern in that if it were to spread it would have consequences,” he said in his first public comments on the outbreak.
“They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it’s something everyone should be concerned about. We’re working hard on it to figure out what we’re doing.
He added that efforts are underway to determine which vaccine might be effective.
In the UK, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said new figures would be released on Monday after recording 20 cases on Friday.
Britain is seeing daily infections of the rare monkeypox virus that are not linked to any travel to West Africa, where the disease is endemic, a health official said on Sunday.
There have been thousands of human infections in parts of West and Central Africa in recent years, but it is rare in Europe and North America.
When asked if community transmission was now the norm in Britain, UKHSA’s chief medical adviser Susan Hopkins said “absolutely”.
“We are finding cases that have no identified contact with an individual from West Africa, which we have seen before in this country,” she told BBC television.
“We are detecting more cases every day.”
Hopkins declined to confirm reports that a person was in intensive care, but said the outbreak was concentrated in urban areas, among gay or bisexual men.
“The risk to the general population remains extremely low at this time, and I think people need to be mindful of that,” she said, adding that for most adults symptoms would be “relatively mild.”
The first UK case was announced on May 7, in a patient who had recently traveled to Nigeria. The disease is also spreading in Europe and North America.
Monkeypox can be transmitted through contact with broken skin and droplets from an infected person, as well as shared objects such as bedding and towels.
The virus is also transmitted to humans from animals, with symptoms very similar to smallpox but clinically less severe.
Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.
They usually go away after two to four weeks.
There is no specific treatment, but smallpox vaccination has been shown to be approximately 85% effective in preventing monkeypox.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said the UK government had already started purchasing stocks of smallpox vaccine.
“We take this very, very seriously,” he told the BBC.
– With AFP
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