WHO maintains maximum health alert for monkeypox –

WHO maintains maximum health alert for monkeypox –

Despite a sharp drop in cases in the most affected countries in Europe and North America, the WHO decided on Tuesday to maintain the maximum health alert on monkeypox. Its emergency committee believes that there are still “reasons for concern”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Committee sees progress in tackling outbreaks of monkeypox. But he shows great caution in his press release, in particular because of new infections in certain countries, the lack of means in poor countries or the risk of stigmatizing populations at risk.

The expert group met on October 20. On this occasion, scientists and health authorities interviewed by AFP had confirmed that the monkeypox epidemic was in full decline while calling not to declare victory too quickly.

The epidemic is not yet over

“We are moving towards the end, but we are not there yet”, said the virologist Jean-Claude Manuguerra. “Such a large monkeypox epidemic in such a short time is unheard of,” recalled the head of the Environment and Infectious Risks Unit at the Institut Pasteur in France.

Since mid-July, the contamination curve has fallen very sharply, particularly in Western Europe and North America. But some Central and Latin American countries are still on the rise.

And if the epidemic declines, underlined other specialists, it is largely due to the change in behavior within the communities at risk. Vaccination has played a role “but the number of vaccines available remains low”, recalled Carlos Maluquer de Motes, professor of virology at the British University of Surrey.

Vaccine always recommended

The vaccine is nevertheless always recommended for prevention and post-exposure for people at risk. Its clinical efficacy is not yet supported by “hard data”, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), but it is showing positive preliminary results.

In any case, “significant uncertainties remain about the evolution of the epidemic”, underlines the EU body.

Its experts draw four scenarios: a rebound in the epidemic, linked in particular to the return of risky behavior; reduced virus circulation with sporadic outbreaks; persistent decline; or elimination of the disease in Europe.

Public health emergency since July

And monkeypox, erected as an international public health emergency on July 23, therefore still retains this status, just like the Covid.

“A slowing epidemic can be more dangerous, because we can think the crisis is over and lower our caution,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned in mid-October.

The disease is endemic in some West African countries. It is characterized by rashes, which may appear on the genitals or in the mouth. It may be accompanied by fever, sore throat or pain in the lymph nodes.


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