WHO doctor explains how monkeypox spread among humans
It is unclear if recorded monkeypox cases are the “tip of the iceberg” or if the peak in transmission has already passed, an expert has warned.
Speaking at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Sylvie Briand, WHO director for Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness said it is unlikely that the virus has mutated but said that transmission may be being driven by a change in human behaviour, particularly as people return to socialising as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted worldwide.
Many, but not all, of the cases have been reported in men who have sex with men, and Ms Briand said it was particularly important to try to prevent sexual transmission.
While she said the outbreak was “not normal”, she stressed that it was “containable”. There are now 131 confirmed monkeypox cases and 106 further suspected cases, the World Health Organisation confirmed on Tuesday.
Signs and symptoms of Monkeypox: What to look for and how it spreads
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “The main difference between symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not.”
The virus can be difficult to diagnose without the aid of laboratory analysis because of its superficial similarity to other afflictions that result in a rash, such as chickenpox, measles, scabies and syphilis.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has traced the sickness to the tropical rainforests of Central and West Africa and defines it as a viral zoonotic disease – meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans – with the first case recorded in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970.
Read the full explainer here
Thomas Kingsley24 May 2022 12:03
ICMYI: CDC warns LGBTQ community about ‘greater chance’ of exposure to monkeypox
Anyone can get or spread monkeypox, but a “notable fraction of cases” in the latest global outbreak are happening among gay and bisexual men, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
“Some groups may have a greater chance of exposure right now, but by no means is the current risk of exposure to monkeypox exclusively to the gay and bisexual community in the US,” said Dr. John Brooks, chief medical officer for the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “Anyone, anyone, can develop [and] spread monkeypox infection, but … many of those affected in the current global outbreak identified as gay and bisexual men.”
Thomas Kingsley24 May 2022 11:21
Unclear if the cases were the ‘tip of the iceberg,’ expert warns
Monkeypox is a usually mild viral infection that is endemic in parts of west and central Africa. It spreads chiefly through close contact, and until the recent outbreak has only rarely been seen in other parts of the world. The majority of the recent cases have been reported in Europe.
“We encourage you all to increase the surveillance of monkeypox to see where transmission levels are and understand where it is going,” said Sylvie Briand, WHO director for Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness.
She said it was unclear if the cases were the “tip of the iceberg” or if the peak in transmission has already passed.
Speaking at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Ms Briand reiterated WHO’s view that it is unlikely that the virus has mutated but said that transmission may be being driven by a change in human behaviour, particularly as people return to socialising as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted worldwide.
Many, but not all, of the cases have been reported in men who have sex with men, and Briand said it was particularly important to try to prevent sexual transmission.
Thomas Kingsley24 May 2022 10:49
NEW: Slovenia reports first case of monkeypox
Slovenia on Tuesday reported its first case of monkeypox infection in a traveller who had returned from the Canary Islands in Spain, Slovenian N1 television reported.
The man was reportedly not hospitalised because he was infected by a mild version of the viral disease.
Thomas Kingsley24 May 2022 10:23
WHO says monkeypox cases now 131
The World Health Organisation has said the monkeypox outbreak is containable.
There have been 131 confirmed monkeypox cases and 106 further suspected cases since the first case was reported on May 7 outside the countries where it usually spreads, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
The WHO added that while it remains “containable”, the organisation is convening further meetings to support member states with more advice on how to tackle the outbreak.
Thomas Kingsley24 May 2022 09:50
What countries have reported monkeypox cases so far? All we know amid fears over ‘superspreader’ events
Superspreader events are likely behind the rise in global monkeypox cases, a leading scientist has warned, with infections detected in 15 countries so far.
Austria, Israel and Switzerland and are the latest countries to confirm cases of the rare viral infection. Switzerland and Israel both said they had identified one infected person who had recently travelled abroad, while the latter is investigating other suspected cases.
More than 90 cases have been confirmed in the recent outbreak in Europe, the US, Canada and Australia, according to the World Health Organisation.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, the director of Wellcome, said “we have never seen anything like this before, with such a number of cases” in so many countries.
Read the full story below from our science correspondent, Sam Lovett:
Thomas Kingsley24 May 2022 09:31
UN criticises ‘homophobic’ reporting of virus outbreak
The UN has warned against news reports that enable “homophobic” and “racist” stereotypes over the recent monkeypox outbreak, in a call for more sensitive coverage.
Evidence has shown people are most at risk of contracting monkeypox after having close physical contact with someone who has the disease.
This is not limited to the male LGBT+ community, the UN Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids) has said in a statement, citing the World Health Organisation (WHO), adding that some reports of the global outbreak could “reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes and exacerbate stigma”.
Urging for a rights-based and evidence-based approach from the media, governments and communities, Matthew Kavanagh, a top UNAids official, said “stigma and blame undermine trust and capacity to respond effectively during outbreaks like this one”.
Thomas Kingsley24 May 2022 09:10
Where is monkeypox in the US?
The United States now has five presumed cases of Monkeypox after patients in Florida and Utah were suspected of contracting the disease.
Health officials in Salt Lake County said on Monday that two adults who had recently returned from international travel were isolating after showing symptoms of the infectious disease.
On Sunday, a “presumptive” case was also detected in a patient in Broward County, Florida.
A New York City patient tested positive for a virus related to the infection on Friday – two days after a man in Massachusetts became the first confirmed case in the country this year.
Thomas Kingsley24 May 2022 08:29
Watch: ‘Anyone can get it’: WHO health official dispels myth around monkeypox as ‘gay disease’
World Health Organization official confirms that “anyone can get” the monkeypox virus dispelling the myth of “gay disease”.
WHO expert Andy Seale stressed the importance to remember that monkeypox is not an illness that affects only one community more than others.
Mr Seale suggested that an elevated proportion of UK cases in gay or bisexual men could be due to an increased awareness of sexual health amongst the community.
However, he stressed that the virus could be transmitted to anyone, regardless of the community they belong to.
Watch the full clip below:
World Health Organization official confirms that “anyone can get” the monkeypox virus dispelling the myth of “gay disease”.WHO expert Andy Seale stressed the importance to remember that monkeypox is not an illness that affects only one community more than others.Mr Seale suggested that an elevated proportion of UK cases in gay or bisexual men could be due to an increased awareness of sexual health amongst the community.However, he stressed that the virus could be transmitted to anyone, regardless of the community they belong to.Click here to sign up to our newsletters.
Thomas Kingsley24 May 2022 08:11
NEW: Monkeypox fears hit Canary Islands as British tourist tested for virus on Fuenteventura
A British tourist visiting Fuenteventura in the Canary Islands is feared to have monkeypox. Health chiefs in the holiday isle are currently looking into five suspected cases of the virus.
A spokesman for the Canary Islands’ Health Service said in a short statement: “A suspected case of monkeypox in Fuerteventura corresponds to a British tourist.”
Spain has so far confirmed around 40 cases of monkeypox and said another 67 people are being tested.
Thomas Kingsley24 May 2022 07:46