Wednesday, July 6

The WHO recommends tracing the contacts of those infected with monkeypox while cases increase in Spain, Portugal and the United States


Updated

WHO advises isolation of patients suspected of having monkeypox

Microscopic image of monkeypox virions, taken in 2003.CDCAP
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for contact tracing in the wake of a surge in cases of the rare disease monkey pox in a growing number of countries, most recently Spain, Portugal and now the United States.

The general public and health clinics should be vigilant and have specialist personnel examine the unusual skin rashes, the WHO warned this Wednesday. If monkeypox is suspected, patients should be isolatedrecommends the health agency.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this Wednesday that an American person had been infected. In Spain, there have been registered eight infections in Madrid, while Portugal has reported that some 20 people had been infected. For its part, Italy today reported a first confirmed case of monkeypox in a young man from the Canary Islands, while it is studying two other people.

Most of the cases reported so far correspond to men who have had sexual contact with other men.

A resident of the northeastern state of Massachusetts was tested Tuesday night, and CDC laboratories confirmed monkeypox the following afternoon. The infected person had recently traveled to Canada by private transportation, the CDC said.

The case comes after multiple outbreaks of monkeypox were recently reported in countries where the disease does not usually occur, including Great Britain.

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There, the number of cases detected rose to nine, as reported by the UK Health and Safety Authority on Wednesday. The first, detected in early May, was a person who had recently traveled to Nigeria.

The Canadian network CBC reports that Quebec health authorities are also investigating cases of monkeypox after receiving notification that a visitor to the province was a later confirmed case.

The disease is common in Africa

Monkeypox occurs in Central and West Africa, often near tropical forests, and is considered endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it was first discovered in humans in 1970.

The disease can be transmitted from person to person through air dropletsclose body contact or sharing bedding or contaminated objects.

The British authorities have advised the population, in particular men who have sex with other men, to be vigilant for any injury to their bodies, as several cases of monkeypox have recently been detected in homosexual men.

The virus usually causes symptoms similar to smallpoxbut milder. Cases can also be serious. Smallpox is considered eradicated worldwide since 1980 after a major vaccination campaign.

Experts suspect that the pathogen that causes monkeypox circulates in rodents -monkeys are called false hosts-.

According to the WHO, previous cases of monkeypox were usually due to travel to areas of West and Central Africa where the virus is known to be present. According to the WHO, monkeypox has appeared more frequently in Nigeria in recent years. Since 2017, a total of 558 suspected cases have been reported there. Of those, 241 have been confirmed and eight people have died.

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