Transmission probably underestimated: the number of smallpox cases has risen to almost 5,000

Transmission probably underestimated
The number of monkeypox cases rises to almost 5,000

There is growing evidence of smallpox in the world. Europe is most affected. “Human-to-human transmission is probably underestimated,” said WHO chief Ghebreyesus. Experts now advise on the emergency committee in Geneva.

Almost 5,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in humans worldwide this year. In more than 40 countries outside Africa, where smallpox was virtually unknown until May, 3,308 cases were reported, according to Wednesday, the CDC. According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, there are also around 1,600 suspected or confirmed cases in eight African countries, many of which have known similar outbreaks for years.

An emergency committee on monkeypox convened by the WHO opened negotiations in Geneva on Thursday. The experts represented in it are to assess whether this is an “emergency of international interest”, the highest level of alert that the WHO can establish. WHO usually follows the recommendations of experts. This would have no practical consequences, but it should wake up all countries to monitor cases and take their own measures to limit proliferation.

70 dead in Africa

“Human-to-human transmission is taking place and is probably underestimated,” WHO chief leader Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told committee members. Most reported cases involve men who have sex with men. In Nigeria, the proportion of women with disabilities is higher than anywhere else. A good 70 deaths have also been reported in Africa. People with impaired immune systems, pregnant women and young children are at risk of severe disease progression if infected. “It is important that countries remain vigilant and strengthen their capacities to prevent proliferation,” Tedros said.

According to the WHO, the outcome of the negotiations is expected on Friday at the earliest. Depending on the decision of the WHO, the committee meets at free intervals for several weeks or months. The chairman is Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Specialists from Japan, Brazil, Thailand, Switzerland, Russia, Morocco and Nigeria, among others, are represented.

Most cases outside Africa were reported in 29 countries in the WHO European Region: a total of 2,746, according to the EU ECDC Health Office and the WHO Regional Office for Europe in a joint analysis. As can be seen from the data, almost all confirmed cases are men. Approximately 44 percent of those affected were between the ages of 31 and 40. Deaths have not yet been reported.

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