May 23, 2022
As per a recent statement released on May 20, WHO stated that there are about 80 confirmed monkeypox cases so far, and 50 pending investigations. It also added that more cases are likely to be reported as surveillance expands.
Here’s the list of countries where cases have been detected. Also, read about monkeypox symptoms and causes.
Concerns over the rise in monkeypox infections
As the world continues to reel under coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impacts, global concerns have been raised over the recent increase in rare monkeypox infections in different parts of the world.
Monkeypox is a viral infection that is more common in West and Central Africa. There’s a recent spike in cases as over 100 infections were confirmed (or suspected) in Europe and some other countries.
A top European health official warned on May 20 that cases of the rare monkeypox virus could accelerate in the coming months.
WHO regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said that “as we enter the summer season… with mass gatherings, festivals, and parties, I am concerned that transmission could accelerate”.
WHO calls for an emergency meeting
The World Health Organization (WHO) was holding an emergency meeting on Friday (May 20) to discuss the recent outbreak of monkeypox. WHO committee meeting to discuss the issue is the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Hazards with Pandemic and Epidemic Potential (STAG-IH), which advices on infection risks that could pose a global health threat.
As of May 21, the WHO received reports of 92 laboratory-confirmed monkeypox cases and 28 suspected cases from 12 countries where the disease is not endemic.
WHO expects more cases of monkeypox to emerge globally.
List of countries where cases are detected
As per a statement released on May 20, WHO stated that the recent outbreaks reported across the US, UK, Australia, and several European countries are atypical as they are occurring in non-endemic countries.
Here’s a list of countries
EUROPE: Spain, Portugal, Sweden, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland.
Why is monkeypox spread concerning?
Monkeypox is an uncommon disease and has raised concerns worldwide after multiple cases were detected in European countries recently. The monkeypox outbreaks mostly occur in west and central Africa. Occasionally it spreads elsewhere.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
The Monkeypox illness usually causes symptoms of fever, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes. Chickenpox-like rashes are also found on the hands and face.
How does monkeypox transmit?
Transmission usually happens due to close contact with infected animals such as rodents and monkeys and is limited between people.
As per US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anyone “can spread monkeypox through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, or shared items (such as clothing and bedding) that have been contaminated with fluids or sores of a person with monkeypox”.
The US health body added that household disinfectants can kill the virus on surfaces. Monkeypox has only been fatal in rare cases.
What’s the treatment for monkeypox?
As far as the treatment is concerned, it doesn’t exist, but the symptoms usually clear up after two to four weeks. The disease is considered endemic in 11 African nations.
There are antiviral drugs for smallpox that could also be used to treat monkeypox under certain circumstances, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.
More broadly, health officials say that people should avoid close personal contact with someone who has a rash illness or who is otherwise unwell. People who suspect they have monkeypox should isolate themselves and seek medical care.
Did scientists warn in 2019 about the recent rise in monkeypox cases?
It appears that experts had issued a warning for the monkeypox disease three years ago, a report by the Sunday Telegraph suggests. The media outlet released a report recalling an old seminar. In 2019, experts attended a seminar in London and discussed the need to develop “new generation vaccines and treatments”.
In the seminar, the experts apparently discussed that a large part of the world population (said to be 70%) is not protected against smallpox as, after the eradication of the disease, smallpox vaccinations have been stopped (or paused). It eventually means that the particular population is no longer protected against other viruses in the same family.
As per the report, the scientists had highlighted recent monkeypox outbreaks, such as in 2003, 2018, and 2019, and suggested that the rare monkeypox disease was emerging again.
By: Priya Bharti