WHO Calls Emergency Meeting Over Monkeypox Spread
The scientists do not expect the outbreak to evolve into a pandemic like Wuhan virus, given the virus does not spread as easily as SARS-COV-2.
Australia on Friday confirmed its first case of monkeypox from the Victoria state while another one is under investigation in Sydney, officials said.
The affected man, 30, developed mild symptoms before returning to Melbourne on May 16 and immediately sought medical attention, the state Health Ministry said in a statement.
Testing has confirmed that he has the virus, and he remains in isolation at The Alfred with mild symptoms, said the ministry.
The World Health Organization is also convening a group of leading experts in an emergency meeting to discuss the ongoing outbreak.
The Virus Presence Dominant Among Gays
It is believed the main topics of conversation will be around how the virus is being spread, the unusually high prevalence in gay and bisexual men, and also the vaccination situation.
One potential course of action to be raised will be whether vaccination with the smallpox vaccine made by Bavarian Nordic, known as Jynneos in the US and Imvanex in the UK, should be used for contacts of people known to be infected.
The vaccine is only approved in the UK for protection against smallpox — despite the virus being eliminated since 1980 — but can be used “off-licence” to protect against smallpox.
Data show the vaccine, which is the only non-replicating virus in the world for smallpox or monkeypox, reduces a person’s risk of disease by 85 per cent.
If a person receives the jab within four days of infection, the vaccine can modify the course of the infection and improve their prognosis.
There is growing concern over the outbreak, which constitutes at least nine cases in the UK and has been seen in various other nations.
Fast Reaction Doctors Team Deployed
Health teams have been deployed worldwide to isolate and contact trace affected people, with gay and bisexual men urged to pay particular attention to any new rashes or lesions on their body.
The cases of monkeypox have recently been identified in the UK, Spain, Portugal, the US, Italy, Sweden, France, and Canada.
Fabian Leendertz, from the Robert Koch Institute, described the outbreak as an epidemic.
However, it is very unlikely that this epidemic will last long. The cases can be well isolated via contact tracing and there are also drugs and effective vaccines that can be used if necessary, he said.