MADRID, June 24 (EUROPA PRESS) –
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke of more than 3,200 confirmed cases of monkeypox worldwide and one death during his address to the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee.
Most cases involve men who have sex with men, and more specifically, who have had sex with new or multiple partners. “Human-to-human transmission is ongoing and likely underestimated. In Nigeria, the proportion of women affected is much higher than elsewhere and a better understanding of how the disease spreads there is crucial,” he said.
In addition, nearly 1,500 suspected cases of monkeypox and around 70 deaths have been reported in Central Africa so far this year, mainly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but also in the Central African Republic and Cameroon. “Few of these cases are confirmed and little is known about their circumstances,” Tedros warned.
However, the United Nations leader has asked countries to share information with the WHO; to detect cases, conduct appropriate contact tracing, sequence the genome, and implement infection control and prevention control measures; and strengthen their capacity to prevent transmission of monkeypox.
“Many countries have likely missed opportunities to identify cases, including community cases with no recent travel. WHO’s goal is to help countries contain transmission and halt the outbreak with tried and tested public health tools, including surveillance, contact tracing and isolation of infected patients,” he said.
In conclusion, Tedros recalled that one of the “key” lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic is that one of the “most effective” ways to respond to outbreaks in affected communities is to work closely together to collectively create effective risk communication.
“We must work with partners, including affected communities, to take swift and decisive action against stigma, discrimination and misinformation. We also need to work together as an international community to generate the necessary data on the clinical efficacy and safety of vaccines and therapies against the disease. “Monkeypox, and to ensure its equitable distribution,” he concluded.