WHO assisting countries hit by a rare monkeypox outbreak in Europe

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Monkeypox is mostly found in tropical rainforests in Central and West Africa, although outbreaks have recently appeared in other regions of the world. Fever, rash, and enlarged lymph nodes are all symptoms. 

WHO said it was working with impacted nations and others to enhance disease surveillance to discover and help individuals who may be afflicted, as well as give advice on how to manage the sickness. 

The UN health agency emphasized that monkeypox is disseminated differently from COVID-19, urging everyone to “keep informed from reputable sources, such as national health authorities,” about the scope of any epidemic in their local areas.

At least eight European nations are impacted, according to the WHO, including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. 

No travel link 

The situations are unusual, according to Hans Kluge, the UN agency’s Europe Regional Director, for three reasons.

Except for one, none of them are connected to visits to endemic nations.

Many of them were discovered through sexual health services and are males who have intercourse with other men. Furthermore, because the cases are geographically distributed across Europe and beyond, it is assumed that transmission has been occurring for some time.

He said that the majority of the instances are so far moderate. 

“monkeypox is usually a self-limiting illness, and most of those infected will recover within a few weeks without treatment,” declared Dr. Kluge. “However, the disease can be more severe, especially in young children, pregnant women, and individuals who are immunocompromised.” 

Attempting to reduce transmission

WHO is collaborating with the affected nations to identify the likely source of infection, how the virus is spreading, and how to stop it from spreading further.

Surveillance, testing, infection prevention and control, clinical care, risk communication, and community participation are also being provided to countries. 

Concerns about the summer surge

The monkeypox virus is most commonly transmitted to people by wild animals like rats and primates. It can also be transmitted between humans by infected skin lesions, inhaled droplets, bodily fluids, including sexual intercourse, or through contact with contaminated things such as bedding.

People suspected of being infected should be tested and segregated.

“As we enter the summer season in the European Region, with mass gatherings, festivals and parties, I am concerned that transmission could accelerate, as the cases currently being detected are among those engaging in sexual activity, and the symptoms are unfamiliar to many,” said Dr. Kluge. 

Handwashing, as well as other precautions developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, is especially important for reducing transmission in hospital settings, according to him.

Cases from other countries

Monkeypox has been documented in non-endemic nations such as Australia, Canada, and the United States.  

Following recent travel to Canada, a man in the northeastern state of Massachusetts tested positive on Tuesday, marking the first case of the year in the United States. A probable case is also being investigated by health officials in New York City, which is home to UN Headquarters, after a patient at a hospital tested positive on Thursday.

In 2021, the United States reported two instances of monkeypox, both linked to travel from Nigeria. 

SOURCE UN News Centre
Featured image: Wikipedia (Close-up of monkeypox lesions on a female child’s arm and leg. In Bondua, Grand Gedeh County, Liberia, a 4-year-old female was infected with a monkeypox-like virus. A pox virus of the vaccinia, variola, monkeypox type caused this sickness.)

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