The WHO announces a unique response to monkeypox

The WHO announces a unique response to monkeypox

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958, when two outbreaks of smallpox-like diseases occurred in monkey colonies kept for research. The first human case of this variant was recorded in 1970 in Congo. It was later reported in humans in other Central and West African countries.

“Monkeypox reappeared in Nigeria in 2017, after more than 40 years without reported cases. Since then, more than 450 cases have been reported in the African country and at least eight cases have been exported abroad.

According to the institute, this type of smallpox is caused by a virus that infects monkeys, but which can contaminate humans by the way. “There are two types of monkeypox virus: those from West Africa and those from the Congo Basin (Central Africa). Although infection with the monkeypox virus in West Africa sometimes leads to severe disease in some people, the disease is usually self-limiting (which does not require treatment), ”the institute explains.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced this Saturday (18) that it will erase from its statistics the distinction between endemic and non-endemic countries regarding the monkeypox virus, known as the monkeypox. According to the organization, the measure is intended to facilitate a unique response to the virus.

The WHO is currently assessing this disease as a moderate risk, as it is the first time that an outbreak has occurred in non-endemic countries.
The WHO is currently assessing this disease as a moderate risk, as it is the first time that an outbreak has occurred in non-endemic countries. | Reuters

“We are removing the distinction between endemic and non-endemic countries, reporting together on countries whenever possible, to reflect the necessary unified response,” the WHO said in a statement on Saturday.

Before the disease spread to several countries, monkeypox was considered endemic (circulating year-round in the country, with an expected number of cases and deaths) in Central and West African countries. However, in recent months, the disease has been reported in several other non-endemic countries, particularly in Europe, which already accounts for 84% of reported cases, according to the WHO.

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This year alone, between January 1 and June 15, the agency said 2,103 confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported in 42 countries, as well as one probable case and one death. However, the WHO believes that the number of cases is even higher. “It is likely that the actual number of cases is still underestimated. This may be due in part to a lack of early clinical detection of the infectious disease, which is thought to occur primarily in West and Central Africa, a frivolous clinical picture in most cases, limited surveillance and a lack of widely available diagnoses, the organization said in a statement.

Smallpox caused by the hMPXV virus (human monkeypox virus) causes a milder disease than smallpox, which was eradicated in the 1980s. Today, two endemic strains of monkeypox are circulating on the planet. An endemic strain in West Africa, with a mortality rate of 1% to 3%, is responsible for the current epidemic in other countries. Another strain of monkeypox, also endemic in some African countries, originating in Congo, is considered more dangerous with a mortality rate of up to 10%, according to the WHO.

Smallpox is a rare viral disease that is transmitted by close contact with an infected person with skin lesions.
Smallpox is a rare viral disease that is transmitted by close contact with an infected person with skin lesions. | Ag. Brazil

For now, the WHO estimates this disease as a moderate risk, because it is the first time that the outbreak has occurred in non-endemic countries, which are very far from each other. The organization is scheduled to meet on June 23 to assess whether the current epidemic represents a “public health emergency of international importance,” wrote Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, on his social network. The new coronavirus pandemic, for example, was declared by the WHO in January 2020 as a public health emergency of international importance.

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Smallpox is a rare viral disease that is transmitted by close contact with an infected person with skin lesions. Contact can be through hugs, kisses, massage or sexual intercourse. The disease is also transmitted by respiratory secretions and contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding or towels) and surfaces used by the patient.

There is no specific treatment, but the clinical picture is usually mild and requires care and observation of the lesion. The greatest risk of exacerbation occurs, in general, in immunosuppressive individuals with HIV / AIDS, leukemia, lymphoma, metastases, transplant recipients, individuals with autoimmune diseases, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children under 8 years of age.

The first symptoms may be fever, headache, muscle and back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills or fatigue. One to three days after the onset of symptoms, people develop skin lesions, usually on the mouth, feet, chest, face and / or genital areas.

For prevention, close contact with the infected person should be avoided until all wounds have healed, as well as material used by the infected person. It is also important to wash your hands, wash them with soap and water or use an alcohol gel.

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