Monkey pox cases spread in Europe

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Rosamund Lewis, WHO technical leader on monkeypox, said that “close interpersonal contact” was the main way monkeypox spreads, although she added that the risk of aerosol transmission was not yet fully known. Health workers caring for monkey pox patients should wear masks, she said.

Cases are still prevalent among men who have sex with men, the WHO added, although cases have been reported in women.

Analysis of the genetic sequence of the virus collected from some patients in Europe indicated that the spread of the strain had a single origin. It is most closely related to viruses found in recent years in cases exported from Nigeria to the UK, Israel and Singapore.

The UN agency is working with organizations including UN AIDS and community groups to raise awareness and stop the transmission.

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Post-exposure vaccination, including for health professionals or close contacts, including sexual partners — ideally within four days of exposure — may be considered for some countries, the WHO added. The vaccines used are designed against smallpox, a related, more dangerous virus that wiped out the world in 1980, but also work to protect against monkeypox, studies have shown.

Sylvie Briand, senior WHO official, said the agency was evaluating the potency of smallpox vaccines and is contacting manufacturers and countries that have previously committed vaccines.

Reuters, Bloomberg

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