Monkeypox outbreak: WHO working on sexual contact theory, says senior adviser | monkey pox

A senior adviser to the World Health Organization said the monkeypox outbreak appears to be spreading through sexual contact and warned that the number of cases could rise during the summer months as people attend major gatherings and summer festivals.

David Heymann, chair of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Hazards with Pandemic and Epidemic Potential, led a meeting of the group on Friday “because of the urgency of the situation.”

Heymann told Reuters that the WHO is working on the theory that the cases identified so far were caused by sexual contact.

“What seems to be happening now is that it has come into the population as a sexual form, as a genital form, and it is spreading, just like sexually transmitted infections, which has amplified its transmission around the world,” Haymann said.

Heymann, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said experts are likely to provide more guidance to countries in the coming days. Health officials in several countries have warned that cases could rise further during the summer.

Heymann said the monkeypox outbreak didn’t look like the early days of covid because it doesn’t spread as easily. “Vaccines are available, but the most important message is: You can protect yourself,” he said.

The warning comes as a New York City resident has tested positive for the virus that causes monkeypox, health officials said, and the federal Centers for Disease Control is investigating to determine if the rare disease is indeed present.

Officials are treating the case as positive and placed the patient, whose identity was not released, in isolation while awaiting final confirmation of the test result from the CDC.

The notification came a day after authorities in New York City said they were investigating two possible cases. One such possible case in the city has been ruled out, the state health department said.

City epidemiologists have begun contacting people who may have been exposed to the person infected with Orthopoxvirus, the family of viruses that includes monkeypox. State and city officials have said they will try to determine how the New York patient became infected.

The virus comes from wild animals, including rodents and primates, but can occasionally be transferred to humans, with most of those cases being traced to central and western Africa. The first known human infection dates back to 1970, when a nine-year-old boy in a remote part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was diagnosed with the virus, which can cause fever, body aches, chills and fatigue.

People with severe cases may also develop pus-filled rashes and lesions on the face, palms, and other parts of the body.

The virus does not spread easily between people, although authorities have said transmission can occur through contact with bodily fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores such as clothing and bedding, or through respiratory droplets after prolonged face-to-face contact. face contact.

The apparent infection in New York comes as the WHO has identified around 80 cases worldwide, along with roughly 50 more suspected cases. The WHO warned that more cases are likely to emerge.

Infections have been confirmed in nine European countries, as well as the US, Canada and Australia.

Health officials in Massachusetts confirmed their first case of the illness on Wednesday. State authorities have said the patient recently traveled to Canada.

“The current patient does not pose any public health risk at this time,” Dr. Paul Biddinger, director of the Center for Disaster Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, said Thursday. “People should be aware of the symptoms, but not be afraid in any way.”

Cases of monkeypox appear periodically in the United States. Last year, Texas and Maryland each reported one case in people who had recently traveled to Nigeria. In 2003, there was an outbreak in six states that infected 47 people.

“Monkeypox is not a monkey virus,” D. Matt Aliota, head of the Zoonotic Viral Infections Program at the University of Minnesota, told Minnesota’s Kare11 last week. “It was originally isolated from a monkey, but monkeys are not the natural host.

“It is a virus that naturally infects small rodents and can then jump to humans through scratches or hunting and meat processing.”

In recent days, doctors have been advised to treat patients with related symptoms as a “possible diagnosis” and to consult their state health department or the CDC’s Emergency Operations Center “as soon as possible.” suspect monkeypox.

The notice also provides infection control information to health care providers.

Health officials have also noted that monkeypox is more difficult to transmit and therefore easier to contain than the coronavirus.

People who are exposed to monkeypox, which has a slow incubation period, can receive smallpox vaccines that are already in circulation to slow the severity of the disease, according to the CDC.

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