Monkeypox Cases Rise To 157 In Nigeria

This handout picture depicts the dorsal surfaces of a monkeypox case in a patient who was displaying the appearance of the characteristic rash during its recuperative stage. Photo: AFP

 

The number of monkeypox cases has risen to 157 in the country, according to health authorities.

In its situation report for week 30, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said the cases were recorded across 26 states since January.

From January 1 to July 31, 2022, NCDC said four deaths were recorded from 4 states – Delta (1), Lagos (1), Ondo (1) and Akwa Ibom (1).

READ ALSO: US Declares Monkeypox A Public Health Emergency

The report also showed that there were at least 413 suspected cases of the disease in the country.

It stated that for last week, 56 suspected cases were reported across 19 states, with Ondo topping the list after recording 13 cases.

“There were fifty-six (56) new suspected cases reported in Epi week 30, 2022 (25th to 31st July 2022) from nineteen (19) states – Ondo (13), Plateau (8), Lagos (6), Adamawa (4), Abia (3), Borno (3), Delta (2), Kano (3), Anambra (2), Bayelsa (2) , Kwara (2), Akwa Ibom (1), Gombe (1), Imo (1), Nasarawa (1), Osun (1), Oyo (1), Rivers (1) and Taraba (1),” the report read in part.

“Of fifty-six (56)suspected cases, there were twenty-four(24) new confirmed positive cases in Epi week 30, 2022 from twelve (12) states – Ondo (5), Kano (3), Lagos (3), Abia (2), Adamawa (2), Bayelsa (2), Kwara (2), Delta (1), Anambra (1), Gombe (1), Rivers (1) and Nasarawa (1).

“From 1st January to 31st July 2022, there have now been 413 suspected cases and 157 confirmed cases (105 male, 52 female) from twenty-six (26) states – Lagos (20), Ondo (14), Adamawa (13), Delta (12), Bayelsa (12), Rivers (11), Edo (8), Nasarawa (8), Plateau (6), Anambra (6), FCT (5), Taraba (5), Kwara (5), Kano (5), Imo (4), Cross River (3), Borno (3), Oyo (3), Abia (3), Gombe (3), Katsina (2), Kogi (2), Niger (1), Ogun (1), Bauchi (1) and Akwa Ibom (1).

“Four deaths were recorded from 4 states – Delta (1), Lagos (1), Ondo (1) and Akwa Ibom (1).

“Overall, since the re-emergence of monkeypox in September 2017 and to 31st July 2022, a total of 925 suspected cases have been reported from 35 states in the country.”

Monkeypox is a rare viral zoonotic infectious disease transmitted from animals to humans that occur sporadically, primarily in remote villages of Central and West Africa near tropical rainforests.

Nigeria is one of the countries in Africa where the disease is endemic.

US Declares Monkeypox A Public Health Emergency

Monkeypox virus was first identified by Preben von Magnus in 1958 as a pathogen of crab-eating macaque monkeys
Monkeypox virus was first identified by Preben von Magnus in 1958 as a pathogen of crab-eating macaque monkeys

 

US President Joe Biden’s government on Thursday declared monkeypox a public health emergency, a move that should free up new funds, assist in data gathering and allow the deployment of additional personnel in the fight against the disease.

The move came as nationwide cases topped 6,600, around a quarter of them from New York state, and experts warned swift action was needed if the outbreak is to be contained in its early stages.

“We’re prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility to help us tackle this virus,” Health and Human Services secretary Xavier Becerra said in a call.

Observers believe the real number of cases could be much higher than official figures suggest, since symptoms in the current global outbreak, which began in May, have included subtle signs, such as single lesions, in addition to the more familiar widespread rashes.

This can lead to cases being missed or misdiagnosed as the presentation is similar to common sexually transmitted infections.

READ ALSO: US Says Russia Will Fake Scene Around Mass POW Deaths To Blame Ukraine

The US has so far delivered some 600,000 JYNNEOS vaccines — originally developed against monkeypox’s related virus, smallpox — but this number is still far short of the approximately 1.6 million people considered at highest risk and who need the vaccine most.

Supply chain constraints mean the country should receive its next shipment of 150,000 JYNNEOS vaccines — which was developed with US federal funding but is made by a small Danish company called Bavarian Nordic — only by September, said Dawn O’Connell, a senior HHS official.

 Sexual Activity Main Driver 

Some 99 percent of US cases have so far been among men who have sex with men, HHS said last week, and this is the population authorities are targeting in the national vaccination strategy.

In contrast to previous outbreaks in Africa, the virus is now predominantly spread through sexual activity — but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says other routes are also possible, including sharing bedding, clothing, and prolonged face-to-face contact.

Authorities are carrying out specific outreach efforts to the MSM community, including advising them on new types of symptoms and suggesting reducing their number of sexual partners until vaccinated.

There are a small but rising number of women and children who have also been affected as a result of sexual or household contact.

Fortunately, there have been no reported US deaths, with all patients so far recovering. However, some have required hospitalization to treat extreme levels of pain.

Some 14,000 doses of an antiviral drug known as tecovirimat, or TPOXX by its trade name, have been delivered to treat the disease — but the drug was developed against smallpox and its efficacy against monkeypox isn’t yet fully understood.

The focus on MSMs has led to concerns of stigmatization.

But writing in Medscape, University of California, San Francisco professor Monica Gandhi said the focus on the most affected population was helpful.

“Just like with HIV and COVID, it is important to define populations most at risk so we can prioritize targeted messaging and resources toward those groups,” she said.

Five Vaccines from One Dose 

The US declaration comes after the World Health Organization also designated the outbreak an emergency last month — something it reserves for diseases of highest concern.

Also Thursday, US Food and Drug Administration commissioner Robert Califf said his agency was considering changing the way the vaccine is injected, adopting an approach that would allow five times as many people to be vaccinated based on the same supply.

The vaccine is currently administered underneath the skin, but the new technique would involve administering it within the skin, at a more shallow angle.

This “means basically sticking the needle within the skin and creating a little pocket there into which the vaccine goes, so this is really nothing highly unusual,” said Califf.

The US will first need to declare another type of emergency so the new vaccine administration method can be greenlighted, he added. ia

AFP

Sudan Reports First Monkeypox Case

Monkeypox virus was first identified by Preben von Magnus in 1958 as a pathogen of crab-eating macaque monkeys
Monkeypox virus was first identified by Preben von Magnus in 1958 as a pathogen of crab-eating macaque monkeys

 

Sudan has detected its first monkeypox case, health authorities said Monday, after the World Health Organization last month declared the disease a public health emergency of international concern.

The health ministry announced “registering the first confirmed case of monkeypox in a 16-year-old student in West Darfur state in Sudan”.

Montaser Othman, who is director of epidemic control, said there had been around 38 other “suspected cases” but all had tested negative for the virus.

An investigation was underway by the federal and state health ministries to determine the source of the infection, he added.

READ ALSO: Death Toll From Uganda Floods Jumps To 22

The impoverished northeast African nation is especially vulnerable given its poor public health services.

According to the UN children’s agency UNICEF, only 70 percent of the 45-million-strong population have “access to a health facility within 30 minutes travel of their home” in Sudan, where 13 of 18 states suffered outbreaks of vector-borne diseases in 2021.

Last month the WHO declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, the highest alarm it can sound.

AFP

New York Asks WHO To Re-Name ‘Stigmatizing’ Monkeypox

A health worker walks inside an isolation ward built as a precautionary measure for the monkeypox patients at a civil hospital in Ahmedabad on July 25, 2022. (Photo by Sam PANTHAKY / AFP)

 

 

New York City asked the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday to rename the monkeypox virus to avoid stigmatizing patients who might then hold off on seeking care.

New York has seen more cases of the disease, which the WHO declared a global health emergency over the weekend, than any other city in the United States, with 1,092 infections detected so far.

“We have a growing concern for the potentially devastating and stigmatizing effects that the messaging around the ‘monkeypox’ virus can have on… already vulnerable communities,” New York City public health commissioner Ashwin Vasan said in a letter to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus dated Tuesday.

The WHO had floated the idea of changing the name of the virus, which is related to the eradicated smallpox virus, during a press conference last month, a proposal Vasan mentioned in his letter.

Vasan referenced the “painful and racist history within which terminology like (monkeypox) is rooted for communities of color.”

He pointed to the fact that monkeypox did not actually originate in primates, as the name might suggest, and recalled the negative effects of misinformation during the early days of the HIV epidemic and the racism faced by Asian communities that was exacerbated by former president Donald Trump calling Covid-19 the “China virus.”

“Continuing to use the term ‘monkeypox’ to describe the current outbreak may reignite these traumatic feelings of racism and stigma — particularly for Black people and other people of color, as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ communities, and it is possible that they may avoid engaging in vital health care services because of it,” Vasan said.

Anyone is susceptible to contracting monkeypox, which has long been endemic in Central and Western Africa, but so far its spread in Europe and the United States has been mostly concentrated among men who have sex with other men.

The first symptoms can include a fever and fatigue, followed a few days later by a rash that can turn into painful, fluid-filled skin lesions, which may last for a few weeks before turning into scabs that then fall off.

No deaths have been reported so far in Europe or the United States.

More than 16,000 confirmed cases have been recorded in 75 countries so far this year, the WHO said on Monday.

A limited number of doses of a smallpox vaccine found to protect against monkeypox, called Jynneos, have been administered in New York, mostly to gay and bisexual men.

Monkeypox Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments And Vaccines

 

 

The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency at the weekend, as calls grow for swift action to stop the spread of the virus.

More than 16,000 confirmed cases have been recorded in 75 countries so far this year, the WHO said on Monday.

Here is an overview of the symptoms, diagnosis, treatments and vaccines.

– Symptoms –
The first symptoms can include a fever, headaches, sharp muscle pains, fatigue, a rash, as well as swollen and painful lymph nodes.

Around one to three days after the appearance of a fever, a rash can turn into painful, fluid-filled skin lesions.

After a few days or weeks, the lesions or sores turn into scabs, before falling off.

Monkeypox has long been endemic in Central and Western Africa. In countries elsewhere that have recorded cases since May, the lesions have been more common around the genitals and anus, as well as on the mouth.

On Monday, the UK Health Security Agency expanded its list of symptoms to include just one or two genital or anal lesions, as well as rectal pain or bleeding.

Symptoms have varied between patients, however. They usually last between two to four weeks, and the virus is contagious until the rash has fully healed.

– Diagnosis –
Most of the recent global cases have been in men who have sex with men and have recently had sex with a new partner, according to the WHO.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week found that 98 percent of infected people were gay or bisexual men, and 95 percent of cases were transmitted through sexual activity.

Diagnosing the virus can be difficult due to its inconsistent symptoms, which can resemble sexually transmitted infections, several health authorities have warned.

Europe has been the epicentre of the outbreak, with many cases among younger men living in cities, according to the WHO.

Confirming a case of monkeypox may require a PCR test, or a sample or biopsy of a skin lesion.

Those with potential cases must isolate while waiting for test results. Once the virus is confirmed, isolation is recommended for three weeks.

Monkeypox has been detected in semen, but is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, instead spreading through close physical contact. The European Centre for Disease Prevention (ECDC) recommends using a condom for 12 weeks after recovery.

– Treatment –
The disease usually heals by itself after two to three weeks, sometimes taking a month.

In many cases, the only treatment needed is to address the symptoms, such as clearing up a fever or soothing the itching.

Sometimes the lesions can become extremely painful, however, requiring serious painkillers or even hospital treatment.

The most severe cases have been seen in children, pregnant women and people with comprised immune systems.

No deaths have been reported so far in Europe or the United States.

People with monkeypox are advised not to scratch the lesions, as this could spread the virus or leave a scar, and to cover them to avoid the temptation.

The European Medicines Agency has approved a smallpox medication, Tecovirimat, for monkeypox treatment.

– Vaccines –
A smallpox vaccine from Danish drug maker Bavarian Nordic, marketed under the name Jynneos in the United States and Imvanex in Europe, has also been found to protect against monkeypox.

The European Commission approved its use for monkeypox on Monday.

It can also have a “significant protective effect” if administered within four days of exposure to a monkeypox case, according to the ECDC.

Countries such as Britain, Canada, France and the United States have started offering vaccination to those most at risk of the virus.

The vaccine is given in two doses, at least 28 days apart. But for people vaccinated against smallpox as children, one dose is enough. For people with comprised immune systems, a third dose is recommended.

As the vaccines do not provide immediate or total protection, health authorities advise caution after receiving an injection.

The United States also has many doses of the older generation ACAM2000 smallpox vaccine, but it is not recommended for everyone because of significant side effects.

Monkeypox Outbreak Can Be Contained, Says White House

Kyle Planck, 26, who has recovered from monkeypox, shows a bottle of Tecovirimat, which is used for monkeypox treatment, during an interview in New York on July 19, 2022. (Photo by Yuki IWAMURA / AFP)

 

The White House said Sunday it was confident authorities could “eliminate” monkeypox from the United States by speeding up the rollout of vaccinations and treatment to combat the virus’s spread.

“I think monkeypox can be contained, absolutely,” doctor Ashish Jha, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, told CBS News talk show “Face the Nation.”

“We have acted swiftly,” Jha said, pushing back against accusations that President Joe Biden’s administration was caught flat-footed when the first cases began appearing in US states more than two months ago.

He said Washington has undertaken a “very substantial” ramp-up of its response, including the recent acquisition of some 800,000 vaccine doses from Denmark, since the start of the US outbreak in May, when monkeypox vaccine stockpiles were limited.

“The plan is to eliminate this virus from the United States. I think we can do that,” Jha said.

The World Health Organization on Saturday declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency, that has affected nearly 17,000 people in 74 countries.

US lawmakers and mayors have complained of the Biden administration’s response, including House Democrat Adam Schiff who wrote the country’s health secretary this week to warn that “the federal government is falling short of the response that is needed.”

The centre of the US outbreak is in New York City, where most of the recorded cases are in men who have sex with men.

Jha acknowledged that the virus is spreading largely in the gay male community, but stressed that “there are other people who are at risk as well,” particularly those who are in close personal contact with people who are infected.

-AFP

Monkeypox: How A Global Health Emergency Is Decided

Kyle Planck, 26, who has recovered from monkeypox, shows a bottle of Tecovirimat, which is used for monkeypox treatment, during an interview in New York on July 19, 2022. Yuki IWAMURA / AFP

 

A Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) is the rarely used top alert available to the World Health Organization to tackle a global disease outbreak.

The WHO on Saturday declared the surge in monkeypox to be a PHEIC after experts reviewed the situation at an emergency committee meeting two days earlier.

Here is a look at how the decision is made and previous PHEIC declarations:

– What is a PHEIC? –

The conditions which must be met are set out under the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR) — the legal framework defining countries’ rights and obligations in handling public health events that could cross borders.

A PHEIC is defined in the regulations as “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response”.

The definition implies that the situation is serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected, carries implications for public health beyond an affected country’s border, and may require immediate international action.

– Emergency committee –

The WHO’s 16-member emergency committee on monkeypox is chaired by Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who is a former director of the WHO’s Vaccines and Immunisation Department.

The committee brings together virologists, vaccinologists, epidemiologists, and experts in the fight against major diseases.

It is co-chaired by Nicola Low, an associate professor of epidemiology and public health medicine from Bern University.

The other 14 members are from institutions in Brazil, Britain, Japan, Morocco, Nigeria, Russia, Senegal, Switzerland, Thailand, and the United States.

Eight advisers from Canada, the DRC, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States also take part in the meetings.

– Decision –

The emergency committee provided WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus with an assessment of the risk to human health, the risk of international spread and the risk of interference with international traffic.

But it was unable to reach a consensus on whether or not to trigger the highest alert, Tedros said Saturday, so the WHO chief then had to decide himself.

– Six previous PHEICS –

The WHO has previously declared a PHEIC six times:

— 2009: H1N1 swine flu

The pandemic was first detected in Mexico and then quickly spread across the United States and the rest of the world.

— May 2014: Poliovirus

Declared following a rise in cases of wild polio and circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus. Besides Covid, it is the only PHEIC still in place.

— August 2014: Ebola

Outbreak in western Africa which spread to Europe and the United States.

— February 2016: Zika virus

The epidemic began in Brazil and heavily affected the Americas. The only PHEIC declared over a mosquito-borne virus.

— July 2019: Ebola

The second Ebola PHEIC was over the outbreak in Kivu in eastern DRC.

— January 2020: Covid-19

Declared when — outside of China where the virus first emerged — there were fewer than 100 cases and no deaths.

– Covid-19 frustrations –

The Covid-19 PHEIC declaration came after a third meeting of the emergency committee on the spreading virus. Meetings on January 22 and 23, 2020 decided that the outbreak did not constitute a PHEIC.

Despite the declaration, it was only after March 11, that Tedros described the rapidly worsening situation as a pandemic, leading many countries to wake up to the danger.

The sluggish global response still rankles at the WHO’s headquarters and raised questions about whether the PHEIC system under IHR was fit for purpose.

By March 11, the number of cases outside China had soared, with more than 118,000 people having caught the disease in 114 countries, and 4,291 people having lost their lives, following a jump in deaths in Italy and Iran.

“The warning in January was way more important than the announcement in March,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said on the second anniversary of the pandemic declaration.

“People weren’t listening. We were ringing the bell and people weren’t acting.

Thailand’s First Monkeypox Patient Found After Fleeing To Cambodia

 

A Nigerian man who went on the run after becoming Thailand’s first monkeypox case was found in Phnom Penh Saturday and taken to hospital, the Cambodian Health Ministry said.

It comes the same day the World Health Organization officials in Geneva declared the monkeypox outbreak as a global health emergency on Saturday.

The 27-year-old tourist — who had overstayed his visa in Thailand — was diagnosed with monkeypox in the resort city of Phuket on Monday, a Thai health official said.

During his stay in Phuket, the man had visited two entertainment venues, and 142 people are now being screened for the virus, a health official said, adding that the man also had unprotected sex with a woman.

After learning of his diagnosis, he fled his Phuket accommodation, turned off his phone and failed to respond to police or health workers’ messages.

His getaway sparked a manhunt across Thailand and authorities said Saturday his phone signal was detected in a northeastern province bordering Cambodia.

After searching several locations Saturday, Cambodian police found the runaway at a Phnom Penh guest house and he has since been sent to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital for medical treatment.

“In order to prevent the infection of monkeypox virus, the Ministry of Health appeals to all people who have direct contact with the Nigerian patient to isolate themselves and seek health checks,” the Cambodian ministry said in a statement.

Monkeypox is not as contagious as the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization.

But since a surge of infections were reported in early May outside west and central African countries — where the disease has been endemic — it has affected more than 16,800 people in 74 countries, according to a tally published this week by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ninety-five percent of cases have been transmitted through sexual activity, according to a study of 528 people in 16 countries published in the New England Journal of Medicine — the largest research to date.

WHO Declares Monkeypox Global Emergency, Triggers Highest Alert

 

 

The World Health Organization on Saturday declared the monkeypox outbreak, which has affected nearly 16,000 people in 72 countries, to be a global health emergency — the highest alarm it can sound.

“I have decided that the global #monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference.

He said a committee of experts who met on Thursday was unable to reach a consensus, so it fell on him to decide whether to trigger the highest alert possible.

“WHO’s assessment is that the risk of monkeypox is moderate globally and in all regions, except in the European region where we assess the risk as high,” he added.

Monkeypox has affected over 15,800 people in 72 countries, according to a tally by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published on July 20.

A surge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic.

On June 23, the WHO convened an emergency committee (EC) of experts to decide if monkeypox constitutes a so-called Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) — the UN health agency’s highest alert level.

But a majority advised Tedros that the situation, at that point, had not met the threshold.

The second meeting was called on Thursday with case numbers rising further, where Tedros said he was worried.

“I need your advice in assessing the immediate and mid-term public health implications,” Tedros told the meeting, which lasted more than six hours.

A US health expert sounded a grim warning late on Friday.

“Since the last #monkeypox EC just weeks ago, we’ve seen an exponential rise in cases. It’s inevitable that cases will dramatically rise in the coming weeks & months. That’s why @DrTedros must sound the global alarm,” Lawrence Gostin, the director of the WHO Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, said on Twitter.

“A failure to act will have grave consequences for global health.”

– Warning against discrimination –
A viral infection resembling smallpox and first detected in humans in 1970, monkeypox is less dangerous and contagious than smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980.

Ninety-five percent of cases have been transmitted through sexual activity, according to a study of 528 people in 16 countries published in the New England Journal of Medicine — the largest research to date.

Overall, 98 percent of infected people were gay or bisexual men, and around a third were known to have visited sex-on-site venues such as sex parties or saunas within the previous month.

“This transmission pattern represents both an opportunity to implement targeted public health interventions, and a challenge because in some countries, the communities affected face life-threatening discrimination,” Tedros said earlier, citing concern that stigma and scapegoating could make the outbreak harder to track.

The European Union’s drug watchdog on Friday recommended for approval the use of Imvanex, a smallpox vaccine, to treat monkeypox.

Imvanex, developed by Danish drugmaker Bavarian Nordic, has been approved in the EU since 2013 for the prevention of smallpox.

It was also considered a potential vaccine for monkeypox because of the similarity between the monkeypox virus and the smallpox virus.

The first symptoms of monkeypox are fever, headaches, muscle pain and back pain during the course of five days.

Rashes subsequently appear on the face, the palms of hands and soles of feet, followed by lesions, spots and finally scabs.

Monkeypox: From Beginnings In Africa To Global Spread

This handout photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was taken in 1997 during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and depicts the dorsal surfaces of a monkeypox case in a patient who was displaying the appearance of the characteristic rash during its recuperative stage. (Photo by Brian W.J. Mahy / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / AFP)

 

 

As monkeypox infections jump around the world, prompting a scramble for vaccines, AFP looks at how the disease has spread since first appearing in Africa in the 1970s.

The World Health Organization on Saturday declared the outbreak, which has affected nearly 16,000 people in 72 countries, to be a global health emergency — the highest alarm it can sound.

Monkeypox, so called because it was first discovered in a monkey, is related to the deadly smallpox virus, which was eradicated in 1980, but is far less severe.

The strain currently circulating outside Africa is the milder of two known versions.

– 1970: First case in humans –
Human monkeypox is first identified in 1970 in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in a nine-year-old boy.

It becomes endemic in the tropical rainforests of central and west Africa, where 11 countries report cases.

The virus is transmitted through close contact with infected animals, mostly rodents, or humans.

– 2003: First outbreak outside Africa –
In June 2003, the disease surfaces in the United States — the first time it had been detected outside Africa.

The illness is believed to have spread after rodents, imported into the US from Ghana, infected prairie dogs.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 87 cases but no fatalities.

– 2017: Epidemic in Nigeria –
2017 brings a major outbreak in Nigeria, with more than 200 confirmed cases and a fatality rate of around three percent, according to the WHO.

Over the next five years, sporadic cases are reported around the world in travellers arriving from Nigeria, notably in Britain, Israel, Singapore and the United States.

– May 2022: Surge outside Africa –
In May 2022, a flurry of cases is detected in countries outside Africa, in people with no travel links to the region. Most of those affected are gay men.

Europe is the epicentre of the new outbreak.

By May 20, Britain has recorded 20 cases, mostly among gay men.

On the same date, the WHO counts 80 confirmed cases around the world, including in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

– Late May: Vaccinations start –
On May 23, the United States says it is preparing to administer smallpox vaccines, which are effective against monkeypox, to people who have been in close contact with monkeypox patients.

Three days later, the European Union says it is working on centralising purchases of vaccines, as it did for Covid-19.

– June: More than 1,000 cases –
In early June, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that more than 1,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported to WHO from 29 countries where the virus is not usually present.

On June 21, Britain announces plans to offer vaccines to gay and bisexual men with multiple sexual partners.

WHO experts meet on June 23 to discuss the threat but decide that monkeypox does not constitute a global public health emergency.

– July: 14,000 cases, 70 countries –
On July 8, health authorities in France also launches pre-emptive jabs for people considered at risk, including gay men, trans people and sex workers.

On July 14, the US CDC reports more than 11,000 confirmed cases in some 60 countries where monkeypox is not usually found. Most of the cases are in Europe, the United States and Canada.

The number of infections in New York doubles in under a week to several hundred. People stand in line for vaccines, which are in short supply.

On July 20, Tedros announces that almost 14,000 confirmed cases have been reported to the WHO this year, from more than 70 countries, with five deaths, all in Africa.

He says six countries reported their first cases in the previous week, while some states have limited access to diagnostics and vaccines, making the outbreak harder to track and to stop.

The WHO calls a new expert meeting for July 21 to decide whether to declare a global health emergency.

On Saturday, Tedros announces the monkeypox outbreak to be a “public health emergency of international concern”.

WHO To Decide On Sounding Highest Alarm On Monkeypox

A file photo of a signpost with WHO emblem.

 

Monkeypox experts were discussing Thursday whether the World Health Organization should classify the outbreak as a global health emergency — the highest alarm it can sound.

A second meeting of the WHO’s emergency committee on the virus was being held to examine the worsening situation, with nearly 15,400 cases reported from 71 countries, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A surge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic.

On June 23, the WHO convened an emergency committee of experts to decide if monkeypox constitutes a so-called Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) — the UN health agency’s highest alert level.

But a majority advised the WHO’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that the situation, at that point, had not met the threshold.

The second meeting was called with case numbers rising further.

“I need your advice in assessing the immediate and mid-term public health implications,” Tedros told the start of the meeting.

If the committee advises Tedros that the outbreak constitutes a PHEIC, it will propose temporary recommendations on how to better prevent and reduce the spread of the disease and manage the global public health response.

But there is no timetable for when the outcome will be made public.

– Information battle –

Ninety-eight percent of reported cases “are among men who have sex with men (MSM) — and primarily those who have multiple recent anonymous or new partners,” Rosamund Lewis, the WHO’s technical lead for monkeypox, told a press conference on Wednesday.

They are typically of young age and chiefly in urban areas, according to the WHO.

Tedros said Thursday that this posed a challenge, as in some countries, “the communities affected face life-threatening discrimination”.

“There is a very real concern that men who have sex with men could be stigmatised or blamed for the outbreak, making the outbreak much harder to track, and to stop,” he told the meeting.

Tedros said the first committee gathering helped delineate the dynamics of the outbreak, but he remained concerned about the number of cases.

Despite an apparent declining trend in some countries, six nations reported their first cases last week.

“As the outbreak develops, it’s important to assess the effectiveness of public health interventions in different settings, to better understand what works, and what doesn’t,” he said.

Tedros also said information coming from endemic countries in Africa was “very scant”, making it hard to characterise the situation in the region and design interventions.

A viral infection resembling smallpox and first detected in humans in 1970, monkeypox is less dangerous and contagious than smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980.

– ‘Scary and exhausting’ –

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said that as of Monday, 7,896 confirmed cases had been reported from 27 countries in the European Economic Area.

The worst affected were Spain (2,835), Germany (1,924), France (912), the Netherlands (656) and Portugal (515).

“Particular sexual practices are very likely to have facilitated and could further facilitate the transmission of monkeypox among MSM groups,” it said.

Danish company Bavarian Nordic is the lone laboratory manufacturing a licensed vaccine against monkeypox and jabs are currently in scarce supply.

Loyce Pace, the assistant secretary for global affairs at the US Department of Health and Human Services, said it was “very hard” for the world to handle monkeypox on top of Covid-19 and other health crises.

“I know it can be scary… and, frankly, exhausting,” she told reporters at the US mission in Geneva.

However, “we know a lot more about this disease, we’ve been able to stop outbreaks previously and we, importantly, have medical counter-measures and other tools available”.

AFP

Borno Records Four Cases Of Monkey Pox

This handout picture depicts the dorsal surfaces of a monkeypox case in a patient who was displaying the appearance of the characteristic rash during its recuperative stage. Photo: AFP

 

Borno State Ministry of Health has confirmed that there is an outbreak of monkey pox in the state.

The state Director of Public Health, Doctor Lawi Mshelia said on Monday that there are four suspected cases that were reported with three of the cases confirmed by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) after samples sent to the centre were returned positive.

Dr Lawi Mshelia further discloses that two of the cases were reported from the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital where they are currently receiving treatment while the other patient was reported from Biu in Southern Borno.

The director also revealed that one of the patients was discharged from the hospital about a week ago.

Residents and indigenes of the state were urged not to panic, as the Ministry of Health assured them that the situation is under control.

There have been growing concerns regarding monkeypox in recent times. Earlier in May, Nigeria recorded its first death from monkeypox since the beginning of the year 2022.

NCDC had revealed that within the last five months, there have been about 21 cases from eight states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

These include Adamawa – five, Lagos – four, Bayelsa – two, Delta – two, Cross River – two, FCT – two, Kano – two, Imo – one, and Rivers – one.

“The death was reported in a 40-year-old patient who had underlying co-morbidity and was on immunosuppressive medications,” NCDC Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said in a statement on Sunday.

“Genomic surveillance is ongoing at NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory in Abuja and so far, all of the cases have been confirmed to be caused by West African clade Monkeypox virus.

“Among the 21 cases reported in 2022 so far, there has been no evidence of any new or unusual transmission of the virus, nor changes in its clinical manifestation documented (including symptoms, profile and virulence).”

Adetifa stated that the NCDC activated a national multisectoral Emergency Operations Centre for Monkeypox (MPX-EOC) at level two last Thursday, to strengthen and coordinate ongoing response activities in-country while contributing to the global response.

This, he explained, was based on the report of a preliminary risk assessment done by a group of Subject Matter Experts from the NCDC, as well as relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and partner agencies.

Beyond the nation’s shores, there are concerns that the risk of monkey pox becoming established in non-endemic nations is real.

The World Health Organization (WHO) June warned that with more than a thousand cases now confirmed in such countries, the risk cannot be overlooked.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the UN health agency was not recommending mass vaccination against the virus and added that no deaths had been reported so far from the outbreaks.

He, however, asserted that “The risk of monkey pox becoming established in non-endemic countries is real”.

The zoonotic disease is endemic in humans in nine African countries but outbreaks have been reported in the past month in several other states — mostly in Europe, and notably in Britain, Spain and Portugal.

“More than 1,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox have now been reported to WHO from 29 countries that are not endemic for the disease,” Tedros said.

“So far, no deaths have been reported in these countries. Cases have been reported mainly, but not only, among men who have sex with men.

“Some countries are now beginning to report cases of apparent community transmission, including some cases in women.”

The initial symptoms of monkey pox include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery chickenpox-like rash.

Tedros said he was particularly concerned about the risk the virus poses to vulnerable groups, including pregnant women and children.