Monkeypox outbreak can be stopped, if…: WHO chief makes BIG claim as cases rise | World News

New Delhi: Amid the rising number of cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday said that the Monkeypox outbreak can be stopped, if the world takes the risks seriously. More than 18,000 cases have now been reported to WHO from 78 countries, with more than 70 per cent of cases reported from Europe. 

“This is an outbreak that can be stopped, if countries, communities and individuals inform themselves, take the risks seriously, and take the steps needed to stop transmission and protect vulnerable groups,” Tedros said during a press briefing.

WHO says Europe, US worst-hit by monkeypox outbreak

Ghebreyesus said that Europe and the Americas have been affected the most by the monkeypox outbreak. These two regions have reported 95 per cent of the diagnosed cases, he said, warning against stigma and discrimination in monkeypox messaging. Ghebreyesus also informed that over 18,000 monkeypox cases have been reported to the WHO from 78 countries, out of which, more than 70 per cent of these came from the European region and 25 per cent from the Americas. 

He said that 98 per cent of the reported cases have been among men who have sex with men, stressing that stigma and discrimination can be “as dangerous as any virus and can fuel the outbreak.”

“As we have seen with COVID-19 misinformation,” it can spread rapidly online, he said, “so we call on social media platforms, tech companies and news organizations to work with us to prevent and counter harmful information.”

In the meantime, WHO has been urging countries to take the monkeypox outbreak seriously by taking the steps needed to stop transmission and protect vulnerable groups. “The best way to do that is to reduce the risk of exposure and make safe choices,” he said.

“For men who have sex with men, this includes, for the moment, reducing your number of sexual partners, reconsidering sex with new partners, and exchanging contact details with any new partners to enable follow-up if needed,” he added.

Centre’s new guidelines on monkeypox

A 21-day isolation, wearing masks, following hand hygiene, keeping lesions fully covered and waiting for those to fully heal are among the guidelines by the Central government for monkeypox patients and their contacts. The Centre issued guidelines for monkeypox management. The Delhi government has directed its hospitals and 11 revenue districts to follow the guidelines.

The infected person should wear a triple-ply mask while the skin lesions should be covered to the best extent possible to minimise the risk of contact with others, according to the guidelines. It stated that patients should remain in isolation until all lesions have healed and the scabs have completely fallen off.

“District surveillance teams ask contacts to self-monitor their symptoms and stay in touch with them. Preferably, the contacts should isolate themselves in separate rooms but they can also stay in the same room. They should ideally wear a mask and follow hand hygiene and social distancing norms,” an official said. The official also said the asymptomatic contacts should not donate blood, cells, tissues, organs or semen while under surveillance.

Centre floats tender to develop monkeypox vaccine

The Government floated EoI for developing monkeypox vaccine, diagnostic kits in public-private partnership mode. The Centre has invited EoI from experienced vaccine manufacturers, and in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) kit manufacturers for joint collaboration in developing a vaccine candidate against monkeypox and the development of diagnostic kits for diagnosis of this infection.The last date for submission of EoI is August 10.

The objective of the tender read, “ICMR is willing to make available Monkeypox Virus strain/isolates for undertaking R&D, validation as well as manufacturing activities using characterized isolates of Monkeypox virus under the joint collaboration in the public-private partnership mode for the following two activities- 2.1 Development of vaccine candidate against Monkeypox disease. 2.2 Development of diagnostic kits for diagnosis of Monkeypox virus infection.”

Monkeypox outbreak can be contained, says WHO

At a press briefing in Geneva, Lewis said that `right strategies in the right groups` are key to contain the outbreak. She hoped that declaring the infectious disease as a PHEIC will `enhance coordination, cooperation of countries and all stakeholders as well as global solidarity`. But `time is going by and we all need to pull together to make that happen`.

Can monkeypox infections turn dangerous?

The lesions and blisters caused by monkeypox virus are, although, very painful, and lead to hospitalisation, the diseases may not be as deadly as Covid-19 for the general public, health experts contended on Wednesday. The monkeypox virus has, so far, infected over 16,000 people across 75 countries and caused five deaths in Africa.

The disease is not sexually transmitted, but the latest outbreak has been reported among men who have sex with men. However, it can spread among the general population through direct contact with infectious skin or lesions, including face-to-face, skin-to-skin, and respiratory droplets.

(With agency inputs)