Monkeypox, WHO: “92 confirmed and 28 suspected cases in 12 countries”

92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox reported to the World Health Organization by 12 countries, all countries where the disease is not endemic: Italy, Australia, Belgium, Germany, France, Canada, Portugal, United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States. To these are added two cases – one confirmed and one suspected – announced today by Israel. For the reported incidents no travel links have been established in areas where smallpox is widespread. On the basis of the information available, the WHO reports, “the cases have been identified mainly, but not exclusively, among men who have sexual relations with men.” The situation, the Organization emphasizes, is evolving and it is expected “that we more cases of monkeypox will be identified as surveillance expands to non-endemic countries. ” US President Joe Biden also raised the issue, saying that monkeypox outbreaks are something “everyone should be concerned about.” US health authorities are “working hard to figure out what to do,” Biden added, assuring that possible drugs and vaccines are being studied to combat the disease.

WHO at work on information campaign and guidelines for healthcare professionals

The WHO, explains in a note, is focusing on an information campaign about the disease, to try to reach above all “those who may be most at risk of infection” and thus stop a further spread of smallpox. The evidence available at the moment, WHO says, suggests that people most at risk “are those who have had close physical contact with someone with monkeypox, while they are symptomatic.” Meanwhile, the organization also said to be working on developing guidelines for healthcare professionals who may be at risk of disease.

Fnomceo: “Smallpox is not only transmitted sexually”

The general director of the Spallanzani Hospital in Rome, where Italian patients are being treated, urges us not to shout the alarm. The National Federation of Medical Orders (Fnomceo) has meanwhile released a note in which it tries to clarify the modalities of transmission of the disease. In recent days, several health authorities – including the ECDC – had warned homosexual citizens, precisely because many of the cases were found on gay men. To avoid incorrect scientific information and to stigmatize the homosexual community, the Federation has specified that sexual transmission is not the only mode of transmission of monkeypox. “Infection can result from close contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or recently contaminated objects – explains Fnomceo – and transmission through respiratory particles of the droplets usually requires prolonged face-to-face contact, which puts Healthcare professionals or family members of active cases are at greatest risk. The longest documented chain of transmission in a community has been six successive person-to-person infections. Transmission can also occur via the placenta from mother to fetus. “

The endemic countries

The countries where the disease is endemic, according to WHO, are: Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana (identified only in animals), Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone. Central African states currently reporting cases are Cameroon and Nigeria.