WHO declares an international emergency for monkeypox, two children in the USA infected: Yves Van Laethem reacts

Two children in the United States were diagnosed with monkeypox this week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday night. These are the first two confirmed cases in children in the country. Altogether, more than 2,800 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the United States.

This is not surprising because although transmission occurs almost exclusively in the male homosexual world, there is contact with family members, possibly children, and transmission occurs through skin lesions that may be present on the arms or hands. So it’s not weird at all“, responds Yves Van Laethem, head of the clinic in the department of infectious diseases at the CHU Saint-Pierre.

symptoms and transmission

Symptoms of monkeypox usually include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash. Rarely fatal, the infection usually goes away after a few weeks.

The unusual increase in monkeypox, detected in early May outside of central and west African countries where the virus is endemic, has since spread around the world, with Europe as the epicenter. First discovered in humans in 1970, monkeypox is less dangerous and contagious than its relative, human smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most reported cases affect men who have sex with men, but not exclusively. Anyone who has had unprotected, high-risk contact with an infected person can also become infected.

This transmission route presents both an opportunity to implement targeted public health interventions and a challenge, as affected communities in some countries face discrimination that threatens their lives.“, the doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had put before the expert committee on Thursday.There is real concern that men who have sex with men could be stigmatized or blamed for the rise in cases, making them much more difficult to track down and stop‘ he had warned.

WHO raises its highest alert level

The World Health Organization issued its highest alert level on Saturday to try to contain the outbreak of monkeypox, which has affected nearly 17,000 people in 74 countries, its director-general announced. This is only the seventh time WHO has used this alert level.

I have decided to declare an international health emergency of international concern‘ said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press conference, specifying that the risk is relatively moderate in the world, apart from Europe where it is high.

The qualification “Public Health Emergency of International Concern (USPPI)“used in situations”severe, sudden, unusual or unexpected“. It is defined by the WHO as “extraordinary event” whose distribution is aDanger to public health in other states“and may demand”coordinated international action“.

In Belgium there are 331 cases, but none in children. “To my knowledge we have no cases. There was one or the other suspected case, which turned out to be negative in the tests“, specifies Yves Van Laethem.

Rarely fatal, the infection usually goes away after a few weeks.

Queues to get vaccinated in New York

A long queue stretches out onto the street in front of a vaccination center in New York. It is made up mainly of men between the ages of 20 and 40. If you got an appointment, consider yourself lucky. 9,000 free seats in 7 minutes. The city is lacking vaccines and concern is mounting. “As supplies are limited and the number of cases increases, the situation is getting worse. People get nervous about getting vaccinated‘ said a man standing in line.

Two days ago, the LGBTQ+ community in New York demonstrated against the US government and its handling of the monkeypox outbreak.

On Friday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced that it has approved the use of a human smallpox vaccine to expand its use against the spread of monkeypox. In fact, this vaccine is already being used for this purpose in several countries, including France.
The Imvanex vaccine from the Danish company Bavarian Nordic has been approved in the EU for the prevention of smallpox since 2013.

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