WHO convenes emergency meeting over rare disease outbreak – media — Analysis
According to the Telegraph, experts are summoned by the international health watchdog to talk about the rapid spread and epidemic of monkeypox.
The latest spread of the monkeypox virus has prompted The World Health Organization (WHO) to convene an emergency meeting, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reported on Friday. The virus, usually found in forested regions of central and western Africa, is spreading quickly across Europe, Australia, and the US since May.
According to the report, high on the meeting’s agenda are the mechanisms behind the virus’ transmission and possible vaccination strategies. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director Dr Mike Ryan is expected to attend the meeting.
According to this newspaper, WHO researchers are looking into whether smallpox vaccines can be effectively used against the spread monkeypox.
The Telegraph reported that the UK has ordered extra smallpox vaccine stocks. This is being given to anyone who might have been affected by monkeypox. The report states that in addition to the existing 5,000 doses, a request has been made for an additional 20,000 shots.
Sajid Javid (UK Health Secretary) said that another 11 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed, which doubles the current number of reported infections.
According to the newspaper, at least six confirmed cases have been identified in the UK by homosexual and bisexual men. But, UKHSA clarified that the majority of cases aren’t believed to have been linked.
According to the newspaper, authorities believe that the person who was the first to test positive in Britain for the disease had just returned from Nigeria.
Friday saw the confirmation by Germany of its first monkeypox case. France followed suit, increasing the number of countries infected with this virus beyond Africa to 11. This includes Australia, Belgium and Canada.
French officials revealed that the infected man is now a 29 year-old male with no previous travel history to regions where this disease is associated.
Five monkeypox cases were confirmed in Portugal’s Lisbon region. There are 15 other cases currently being investigated. 23 persons are being monitored by Spanish authorities in fear of contracting the virus. Italy and Sweden have each reported one case.
Australia has reported its first monkeypox incident outside of Europe on Friday. The victim was a male who recently traveled to the UK. A second suspected case is being investigated at Sydney.
On Thursday, Canadian health authorities confirmed the country’s first two cases of the disease, while 17 more suspected infections were being investigated in Quebec province.
Canada’s Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), issued a statement stating the country has not faced this type of viral disease before.
A single case of monkeypox in Massachusetts was confirmed Wednesday. According to the local health department, the victim had just traveled to Canada. The authorities reassured the public that they were taking steps to trace the infected person’s contacts. Official statements state that the case has been closed. “poses no risk to the public, and the individual is hospitalized and in good condition.”
Although monkeypox can be spread from wild animals in some tropical regions of Africa, the virus is also capable of passing to humans. It is not yet known which species are monkeypox’s natural reservoir, with the WHO surmising that it could be rodents.
“Contact with live and dead animals through hunting and consumption of wild game or bush meat are known risk factors,”WHO warned.
Incubation can take anywhere from six to 21 days. Initial signs of the disease include fever, headaches and body aches. A rash is another common symptom. It usually appears on the skin and then spreads to the rest of the body, forming scabs.
Outbreaks have happened regularly since the 1970’s in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Nigeria, but usually remained confined to those areas.
Positive news is that the virus does not spread easily between people. The risk to the general public is believed to be low.