International health watchdog calls experts to discuss rapid spread of monkeypox, Telegraph reports
The latest outbreak of the monkeypox virus has prompted an emergency meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO), Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reported on Friday. The disease, which is usually confined to the forests of West and Central Africa, has spread rapidly in several European countries since the beginning of May, as well as in the United States and Australia.
According to the report, the agenda of the meeting includes the mechanism behind the virus infection and possible vaccination strategies. Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergency Program, is reported to be participating in the discussion.
The newspaper claimed that the WHO was looking into whether the smallpox vaccine could be used effectively to combat the spread of monkeypox.
Meanwhile, the UK government has already ordered additional stocks of the smallpox vaccine, which is being given to people who may come in contact with monkeypox, the Telegraph reported. A further 20,000 shots were ordered in addition to the 5,000 doses currently in the hands of British authorities, the report said.
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Friday that 11 more cases of monkeypox had been identified, doubling the number of known infections in the country.
Newspaper reports say at least six of the confirmed cases in the UK have been identified among gay or bisexual men. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), however, has made it clear that in most cases it is not believed to be involved.
Authorities believe the first person to be tested positive for the disease in Britain recently returned from Nigeria, the paper claims.
On Friday, Germany confirmed the first case of its monkeypox, and so did France, the number of countries dealing with the virus outside the African region, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. , And the United States.
French authorities have revealed that the first person infected there was a 29-year-old man with whom he had no recent history of traveling to the region in which he was traditionally involved.
In Portugal, five monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the Lisbon area, with 15 more currently under investigation. In neighboring Spain, 23 people are being monitored for fear of contracting the virus. Sweden and Italy have also filed a lawsuit.
Outside of Europe, Australia on Friday reported the first monkeypox case in Melbourne from a man who recently traveled to the UK, with another suspect case currently being investigated in Sydney.
On Thursday, Canadian health authorities confirmed the first two cases of the disease in the country, while 17 more suspected infections were being investigated in the province of Quebec.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said in a statement that the country had never been exposed to the virus before.
On Wednesday, a single case of monkeypox was confirmed in the US state of Massachusetts. The local health department said the man had recently traveled to Canada. Authorities have assured the public that they are taking steps to find out the identity of the infected person. An official statement said the case “It does not pose a risk to the public, and the person is hospitalized and in good condition.”
Monkeypox is commonly spread by wild animals in certain tropical regions of Africa; However, it can also be transmitted from animals to humans. It is not yet known which species is the natural reservoir of monkeypox, the WHO has speculated that it may be rat.
“Contact with living and dead animals through hunting and wild game or eating bush meat is known to be a risk factor.” WHO has warned.
The incubation period can be between six and 21 days. The disease manifests itself primarily in fever, headache, body aches, and fatigue. Patients also often have rashes, usually appearing on the face first and then spreading to other parts of the body and forming scabs.
Outbreaks appear to be exacerbated during the 1970’s in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Nigeria, but were generally limited to those regions.
On a more positive note, while the virus is not known to spread easily among humans, the risk to the wider public is believed to be relatively low.