WHO says monkeypox outbreak could lead to infection

LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday it did not believe monkeypox could spread to other parts of the world, and said it was unclear if it could spread the disease to people who did not show symptoms.

More than 300 suspected and confirmed monkey pox – usually transmitted by close contact with mild disease and causing flu-like symptoms and purulent skin lesions – were reported in May, mostly in Europe.

The WHO is considering whether the eruption should be rated as a “potential public health emergency of international concern” or PHEIC. Such announcement, made for Govt-19 and Ebola, would help expedite research and funding to control the disease. read more

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Asked if the monkey had the potential to develop into a pandemic, Rosamond Lewis, a technology lead for monkey flu from the WHO Health Emergencies program, said: “We do not know, but we do not think so.”

“At the moment, we are not worried about a global epidemic,” he said.

He added that once the monkey is infected with the virus, the period of rash onset and rash is recognized as the time of infection, but there is limited information on whether the virus is transmitted by asymptomatic people.

“We don’t really know yet whether there is an asymptomatic spread of the monkey box – signs that this is not a big feature – but it remains to be determined,” he said.

It is understood that the strain of the virus trapped in the eruption will kill a small portion of the victims, but so far no deaths have been reported.

Most cases are more prevalent in Europe than in Central and West African countries, where the virus spreads and are not mainly linked to travel.

Therefore, scientists are exploring what is the increase in these unusual cases, while public health officials suspect that there is some social prevalence.

Some countries have begun to offer vaccines for close contact with confirmed cases. read more

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Report by Natalie Grover in London; Editing by Toby Chopra, David Holmes and Alison Williams

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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