WHO sees no reason for alarm over monkeypox

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In light of the unusual spread of monkeypox, the World Health Organization (WHO) urges various measures but sees no reason for alarm. “This is not a disease that should cause public concern. It is not covid,” WHO expert Sylvie Briand said Friday in Geneva at a briefing for WHO member countries. Nonetheless, she said, governments should quickly capture sufferers and isolate those affected.

The WHO expects most cases to be mild. However, pregnant women, children, and people with weak immune systems would be at higher risk for a severe course. “We have a good window of opportunity to stop transmission now,” Briand said. But it is unclear how large the stockpiles of smallpox vaccines are, which are also expected to help against monkeypox, he said.

WHO expects the number of cases to continue to rise. Monkeypox has now occurred in more than 20 countries, it said. “We don’t know if we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg,” Briand said. According to previous reports, there are no clear findings yet on the cause of the current trend.

Meanwhile, work is underway in the EU on the joint purchasing of vaccines and medicines against monkeypox. As a spokeswoman for the EU Commission confirmed in Brussels on Friday, a broad consensus has been reached with the member states that the new EU authority to prevent health crises (Hera) should procure medical defense products as soon as possible. She said the member states would determine the exact procedure in the coming days. At the same time, the spokeswoman stressed that monkeypox vaccination would be limited to particular cases, as the transmissibility and risk of the virus are not comparable to Covid-19.

Monkeypox, meanwhile, has also been detected in Latin America. The virus has been confirmed in a man in Argentina, the South American country’s health ministry said Friday. In early May, the man from Greater Buenos Aires was in Spain and developed symptoms such as fever and skin blisters on various parts of his body after returning to Argentina. After an examination at a hospital, he was quarantined.

The man has the first confirmed monkeypox infection in Latin America. In addition, there is a new suspected case in a person from Spain who is currently visiting Argentina. Another suspected case has been reported from Bolivia. The patient’s samples were also sent to a laboratory in Argentina for testing.

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