An emergency committee meeting was convened Thursday by the director general of the World Health Organization to provide views on whether to declare monkeypox a public health emergency. As of 10:22 PM ET, the organization hadn’t made any announcements.
“I don’t think they will declare it today”, Professor Julie L. Swann – the head of the industrial and systems engineering department at NC State University who served as the H1N1 pandemic response science advisor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Audacy on Thursday.
Swann said that while the spread of monkeypox around the world is a concern, most countries where there has been a significant spread “are making resources available” to fight the virus. She added that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic still requires public health resources.
According to the Center for Disease Control and PreventionMonkeypox is a rare viral disease that was first identified in Africa and is related to smallpox. Since its discovery, monkeypox has become endemic to some areas of Africa. In MayWHO has announced a worldwide outbreak of cases outside these endemic areas.
Starting with the most recent update of the WHO monkeypox outbreak on June 17, there have been more than 2,100 cases of monkeypox worldwide, including 72 in the United States and 159 in Canada. The UK has the largest number of cases at 524.
Only one death from monkeypox was reported this year.
Starting at 6:43 pm CEST on Thursday, the WHO had reported 732,529 new cases of COVID-19 in the previous two hours. Nearly 8,000 deaths were reported worldwide on Thursday alone.
Symptoms of monkeypox infection typically include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and an evolving centrifugal rash. However, “to date, the clinical presentation of monkeypox cases associated with this outbreak has been variable” and “many cases in this outbreak do not present with the classically described clinical picture for monkeypox,” said the WHO.
“The atypical features described include: presentation of a few or even a single lesion; lesions that begin in the genital or perineal / perianal area and do not spread further; lesions that appear at different (asynchronous) stages of development; and the appearance of lesions before the onset of fever, malaise and other constitutional symptoms, “according to the organization.
According to public health organizations, many of the patients who tested positive for the virus during the recent outbreak were men who have had sex with men. Swann explained that multiple factors could contribute to this, including public health recommendations for LGBTQ communities to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (which could lead to a diagnosis of monkeypox) and a potential higher rate of activity. sexual versus other demographics.
He pointed out that monkeypox could be transmitted to other communities, especially since the progression of cases indicates that the virus has spread unnoticed for an unknown period of time.
“This is one of the real worrying elements,” he said. “We don’t really know how long it has spread relatively quietly.”
Public health officials are urging people who believe they have been in contact with monkeypox to get tested. Swann also recommended that sexually active people should also be tested regularly for infections
“Just generally get tested for sexually transmitted diseases,” he said.
Although the WHO does not classify monkeypox as a sexually transmitted disease, its modes of transmission include close skin-to-skin or face-to-face physical contact.
Contact with injuries caused by monkeypox and respiratory droplets from an infected person could lead to contamination.
“It is unclear what role sexual bodily fluids, such as sperm and vaginal fluids, play in the transmission of monkeypox,” the WHO said.
Swann said the sores from another infection that causes sores, such as syphilis, could possibly provide an entry point for monkeypox infection. So, he said people who test positive for syphilis might also ask to get tested for monkeypox.
There are at least two monkeypox clades, one from the Congo Basin and one from West Africa. While the Congo Basin clade has a reported mortality rate of around 10 percent, the West African clade has a mortality rate of around 1 percent, according to WHO data. CDC data indicates that the recent outbreak of cases is caused by the West African clade.
Additionally, Swann said death rates may differ in areas where cases have appeared this year, including the United States. Different rates of immunocompromise within communities, health resources and how cases are counted can influence morbidity rates, she explained.
“In the United States, we have a well-developed health infrastructure, good nutrition and clean water, so we have some mortality advantages here over other locations,” Swann said.
So far, smallpox vaccines have been shown to be an effective prevention measure against monkeypox, according to the CDC. These vaccines were routine in the United States until 1972, then the disease was eradicated in this country, according to the New York State Department of Health.
Swann noted that smallpox vaccines take 28 days to be fully effective. He said health workers or people at risk of developing monkeypox might consider getting a smallpox vaccine, but he hasn’t recommended it to everyone as of Thursday.
There are currently no specific treatments for monkeypox, but antiviral treatments for monkeypox could be effective against the virus. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.