“World Health”: Monkeypox poses no threat to Hajj season

She considered the “information epidemic” more difficult than viruses and expressed her confidence in the Saudi health system

The director of health emergencies in the Eastern Mediterranean at the World Health Organization, Richard Brennan, ruled out any impact on the pilgrimage season due to the current “monkeypox” outbreak.

While 780 confirmed cases of infection were reported from 27 countries as of June 2, including 14 cases in the Eastern Mediterranean, 13 in the United Arab Emirates and one case in Morocco, Brennan does not consider the situation to be a cause for concern. and calls for exceptional measures.

In response to a question to “Asharq Al-Awsat” in this regard, during a virtual press conference organized yesterday, Brennan said: “It is enough just to take the necessary precautions, adopt early monitoring mechanisms, establish contacts train tracks and pilgrims, and in the event of an infection case, the Saudi health system is highly efficient, so that it can cope with any emergency.

During the conference, Brennan expressed his dismay at certain information and misconceptions about the disease, which were reflected in some questions, including talking about vaccines as an essential tool in the confrontation. He said: “We don’t need extensive vaccination campaigns similar to Covid-19, using old smallpox vaccines or new monkeypox vaccines, but it is enough at this stage to take basic preventive measures to control the disease, such as isolating patients, tracing contacts, improving surveillance and laboratory research.”.

He denounced the source of the misinformation that came in a question indicating that deaths in the current outbreak exceed any previous outbreak, saying: “All reports issued by the organization and health authorities in various countries indicate that no deaths have been recorded.” , so far.”

Contrary to popular belief, while correcting the information, Brennan indicated that the “monkeypox” disease is much milder than chickenpox, despite the similarity of their symptoms, namely fever, body aches, skin rashes and suppuration, and said that the Most of those infected are treated with supportive treatments without the need for hospitalization, these supportive therapies are a group of drugs that target the symptoms of the disease.

During the press conference, the regional director of the office for the Eastern Mediterranean, Ahmed Al-Mandhari, said the misinformation corrected by Brennan during the conference is “more dangerous than the epidemic itself… The disinformation epidemic is more dangerous for health than the virus. epidemics, and this is a fact that we touched closely during the Covid pandemic.” 19, where misinformation caused some to forgo vaccinations, becoming easy prey for the disease.”

Al-Mandhari expressed surprise that among the recipients of this misinformation and the promoters were heads of state and politicians, some of whom died during the pandemic because he failed to recognize the existence of the disease in the first place.

Since the theorist saw no excuse whatsoever for these people to believe in the conspiracy theory and to believe false information, he seeks out some of it for the general public, because of the current political turmoil in the world, and the accompanying talk about manufactured viruses and biological warfare, and he said, “This is a fertile environment for the spread of the conspiracy theory.” He called on health authorities and civil society to do more towards raising awareness.

Al-Mandhari explained that monkeypox is a new disease in our region, noting that they are currently working closely with the organization’s headquarters and other regions of the organization to learn more about the reasons for its emergence now in countries that are not endemic to the disease, and continues: “The situation is developing at a rapid pace, but the assessment is still ongoing. The WHO public health risk to date has been average at the global and regional levels.

He also stressed that the WHO does not recommend imposing travel restrictions, but urged anyone who feels ill during or after traveling to countries in West and Central Africa where the disease is endemic to inform a health professional.

The cause of the current outbreak, which has spread the disease from endemic countries to other countries, is still being investigated, but genetic sequencing, which was performed using samples from infected people, indicates that the virus that caused the outbreak caused, belongs to the West African deformation.

At the press conference, Rana Al-Hijjah, Director of the Programs Department of the WHO Regional Office, denied what had been reported about the occurrence of mutations in the virus that gave it a high transmission capacity, and that this was his departure from the magnitude of endemic countries, and lamented: “This is also because of the false information being promoted”. The argument reiterated that monkeypox virus belongs to the type of viruses whose genetic material is “DNA”, and this type of virus, unlike “RNA” viruses such as the emerging Corona virus, which causes the disease “Covid-19”, is the ability to slow mutation.

And she talked about the treatment options available for the disease, and she said most patients are treated with drug interventions that target symptoms, noting that there is a drug that is approved for monkeypox, but the amount produced is still small, and she also indicated that there are two vaccines that have been produced for monkeypox, and the quantities are still available. There are also few.

She explained that these vaccines will not be like the “Covid-19” vaccines that are intended to vaccinate the general population, but they will only be for patient contacts, as they can be helpful in preventing the onset of prevent the disease if given to them before the symptoms of the disease appear, especially four days after exposure to the virus.

In order to relieve health systems and avoid providing large quantities of these vaccines, the argument argues that the organization is working with countries where no confirmed cases have been reported to increase preparedness measures, including educating the general public about the disease and its symptoms. and ensuring the competence of healthcare workers supports the rapid detection and isolation of suspected cases, and the development of laboratory capabilities for rapid diagnosis of suspected cases.

Saudi Arabia



global health

monkeypox virus

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