Spread of monkeypox around the world: Should we be worried?

The number of monkeypox infections is increasing rapidly in several countries. Something that worries the World Health Organization, which is preparing to hold a meeting this week to decide on the seriousness of the rebound in cases. According to the experts contacted by “Mañanero”, the situation is not alarming at the moment.

Should we be concerned about the spread of monkeypox around the world? To answer this question, the Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) will hold a meeting on Thursday, July 21, which aims to determine the measures to be taken in the face of the current outbreak of the disease in several countries. After ruling out raising the alert level last June, the Committee will once again rule on the seriousness of the resurgence of monkeypox cases, and on its classification as a public health emergency of international concern. This meeting comes after the increase in the number of confirmed cases globally in the last month, which exceeds the 11,000 mark in 65 countries. What worries the WHO most is its spread outside African countries where the virus is endemic. These new cases are also accompanied by a change in the most common symptoms. Fearing an increase in monkeypox cases in the coming weeks, several countries in Europe and America have decided to increase the rate of vaccination against the disease. However, in Morocco, we hardly talk about it anymore.

After the detection of a first case last June, and the implementation of a national plan to combat monkeypox, the Ministry of Health had declared that it was not concerned about the situation, but only had to take measures to prevent the virus. to spread out For Tayeb Hamdi, a doctor and researcher in health policies and systems, if today we do not talk much about monkeypox, it is because it coincided with the new wave of Covid-19, which is more worrying. “Monkeypox remains easily detectable and is only transmitted with difficulty, through very close and prolonged contact with mucous membranes, body fluids, or airborne respiratory droplets. An infected person does not infect several people at the same time, as is the case with Covid-19, which currently generates much more concern, ”he emphasizes. But if monkeypox is not very transmissible, why does the number of cases continue to increase in Europe and the United States while Morocco registers a single confirmed case, several weeks ago? “The risk of contagion of monkeypox from person to person is very low in the population.

The current spread of monkeypox virus outside of Africa is likely due to the global decline in immunity to viruses of the genus orthopoxvirus (responsible for human smallpox), following the discontinuation of smallpox vaccination in the 1990s. 1980. Therefore, monkeypox could become the most important orthopoxvirus infection in humans,” says Dr. Khadija Moussayer, a specialist in internal medicine and geriatrics. The latter considers that the current epidemic caused by smallpox is not worrying at the moment. “No serious cases have been identified at the moment and the transmissibility is low. The situation would be problematic if the virus mutated and became as transmissible as human smallpox, this could lead to very large epidemics in the future”, she warns.

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