WHO to determine if Monkeypox should be declared ‘Emergency of International Concern’; rights expert warns of COVID ‘vaccine apartheid’
At least 72 people have died from previously affected countries. No registered casualties have been reported in the newly attacked countries, but the organization wants to confirm news reports of related deaths in Brazil.
“Monkeypox outbreaks around the world are rare and disturbing,” said WHO director Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus, calling for increased response and international communication.
Iraima Socé Fall, WHO Deputy Director-General for Emergency Response, explained that the risk of transmission in Europe is considered “high” while globally “moderate” and that there is still room for information on how the virus is spread.
“We do not want to wait until the situation is out of control,” he said.
Detection and control of cases
The WHO has published government recommendations on case detection and control.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva, WHO’s Smallpox Specialist Rosamund Lewis, said it was important to raise public awareness of the risk and explain recommendations to avoid infecting those close to them and family members.
Drs. Lewis explained that, although the disease sometimes produces mild symptoms, such as sores on the skin, it can be transmitted for two to four weeks.
“We know it is very difficult for people to isolate themselves for a long time, but it is very important to protect others. In most cases, people can isolate themselves at home and there is no need to be in the hospital, ”he added.
Monkeypox is transmitted through physical contact with a person with symptoms. Swelling, fluid, and dandruff are highly contagious. Clothes, bedding, towels, or other items such as food containers or utensils may become infected.
However, it was unclear whether people with no symptoms could spread the disease, the expert said.
The WHO also published a new Monkeypox vaccination guidelines on Tuesday.
Although some countries have retained the important supply of anti-smallpox vaccines – a virus that was abolished in 1980 – these first-generation vaccines stored in the national stock market are not recommended by Monkeypox at this time, as they do not meet current safety and productivity standards.
New and safe smallpox vaccines (second and third generation) are available, some of which may be useful for Monkeypox and one of them (MVA-BN) is approved to prevent the disease.
The supply of these new vaccines is limited, and discusses access strategies, the WHO has been informed.
“Currently, the World Health Organization does not recommend mass vaccination. Decisions regarding the use of smallpox vaccines or Monkeypox should be based on a comprehensive assessment of the risks and benefits in each case, “the guidelines say.
For contact with sick patients, post-exposure prophylaxis is recommended with a second or third generation vaccine, preferably within four days of initial exposure to prevent the onset of the disease.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis is recommended for at-risk health workers, laboratory staff working with orthopoxviruses, clinical laboratory staff conducting Monkey diagnostic tests, and other potential risks.