Because there is no evidence of virus mutation, high-risk close contacts of monkeypox cases in the United Kingdom and Belgium have been ordered to isolate for 21 days.
Monkeypox virus mutations are rare, according to the WHO. Outbreaks are rare in countries where the virus is normally uncommon. Demographics with higher rates of infection may be tested more frequently.
Rosamund Lewis, head of the World Health Organization’s Emergencies Programme’s smallpox secretariat, said at a press conference that while mutations are typically lower with this virus, genome sequencing of the cases will aid the analysis of the outbreak.
According to Maria van Kerkhove, the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonoses lead and technical lead on COVID-19, more than 100 confirmed and suspected cases in a recent outbreak across North America and Europe have not been severe.
Denmark reported its first case on Monday, Portugal revised its total to 37, Italy said one more infection and the UK reported 37 new cases.
There is one confirmed case in Massachusetts and four probable cases — two in Utah, one in Florida, and one in New York City, according to US health officials. All were men who had visited countries other than the United States.
Four confirmed cases in Germany have been linked to exposure at “party events… where sexual activity took place” in Spain’s Canary Islands and in Berlin, according to the Associated Press.
There are 30 confirmed cases, according to the top health official in the Spanish capital.
Dr. van Kerkhove believes the situation is “containable”, especially in Europe. “However, we must not lose sight of what is actually occurring in Africa, particularly in endemic countries,” Dr van Kerkhove said.
The outbreaks have been unusual in that they have occurred in regions where the virus doesn’t quite normally circulate, according to the WHO. Scientists are attempting to determine where the cases are coming from and whether the disease has altered. The WHO has directed dermatology, primary care, and sexual health clinics to investigate potential causes.
Patients who begin treatment
Many of those infected with monkeypox in this outbreak are men who’ve had sex with other men (MSM).
Although it is too soon to say, but officials believe that this demographic is more likely to require health advice or access sexual health screening.
Although the virus is not easily transmitted between people, it can spread through direct connection or contact with objects used by a monkeypox patient, such as clothing, utensils or bedding.
“We realize that if MSM notices a strange rash, they’re likely to get it checked out as soon as possible,” said Andy Seale, a strategy advisor at the World Health Organization’s global HIV, hepatitis, and STI department.
More cases, according to Dr. van Kerkhove, will be recognised as monitoring expands.
Dr. Seale responded when asked if the preliminary findings could fuel discrimination: “We can collaborate with groups to draw on years of experience combating HIV discrimination and stigma. In this situation, we would like to put what we’ve learned into practice.”
‘Mass’ vaccination is not required
The WHO believes that hygiene and safe sexual behaviour will help control the spread of monkeypox outside of Africa, and that mass vaccinations are unnecessary.
WHO Europe’s high-threat pathogen team leader, Richard Pebody, also stated that immediate supplies of vaccines and antivirals are limited.
His comments came as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States announced that some Jynneos vaccine doses would be made available for use in cases of monkeypox.
He stated that the primary measures for controlling the outbreak are contact tracing and isolation, noting that the virus does not spread easily and has not yet caused serious disease.