London — Current outbreaks outside of African countries, with more than 1,000 cases of monkeypox reported to the World Health Organization, are more common.
WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the risk of monkeypox colonization in these non-epidemic countries is real, but preventable at this time.
Twenty-nine countries have reported cases of current outbreaks that began in May. No one has reported death.
In a media briefing in Geneva, Tedros also said there were more than 1,400 suspected monkeypox cases in Africa this year and 66 people died.
“With the emergence of monkeypox in high-income countries, the international community’s attention to monkeypox is an unfortunate reflection of the world in which we live,” he said.
He said the outbreak showed signs of community infection in some countries. WHO recommends that people with monkeypox be quarantined at home.
Rosamund Pike, WHO technical lead for monkeypox, added that the risk of aerosol infection is not yet fully understood, but said that the main way monkeypox spreads is “interpersonal relationships.” She said that healthcare professionals caring for monkeypox patients should wear masks.
Although cases of women have been reported, WHO added that the cases are still predominantly among men having sex with men.
UN agencies work with organizations such as UN AIDS and community groups to raise awareness and stop infections.
WHO added that post-exposure vaccination may be considered in some countries, including close stakeholders (ideally within 4 days after exposure), including health care workers and sexual partners. The vaccine used is designed against the more dangerous virus associated with smallpox, which was eradicated worldwide in 1980, but studies have shown that it is also effective in protecting against monkeypox. ..
WHO official Sylvie Briand said he had evaluated the efficacy of the vaccine stockpiled against smallpox and contacted manufacturers and countries that had previously promised the vaccine.
By Mrinalika Roy and Jennifer Rigby