At least in the UK, monkey vaccines have been offered to some healthcare workers.
World according to the WHO, there is no acute need to vaccinate people against monkeypox outside Africa.
WHO senior official Richard Pebody said on Monday that the spread of monkey pox can be curbed with good hygiene and safe sexual behavior.
Pebody chairs the WHO European Division’s High Threat Pathogens Task Force.
He says in an interview with Reuters that vaccines and antiviral drugs that are effective against monkey pox are also relatively limited.
At least in the UK, monkey vaccines have been offered to some healthcare workers. The United States and Germany have also explored their vaccination options.
In Europe and more than a hundred confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox are being investigated in North America. This is the worst known epidemic of the virus outside Africa.
The majority of monkey pox cases detected in Europe have not been linked to Africa, where the disease has been present for decades. According to Pebody, this suggests that cases remain largely undetected.
“So we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg,” he notes.
According to Pebody, the primary means of preventing the spread of the epidemic are isolation and tracing of infections. He points out that the virus itself is not spreading very easily and has not caused a serious illness so far.
For now it is still unclear what has caused the epidemic to break out outside Africa. The WHO said on Monday there was no evidence of the virus mutating.
A large proportion of diagnosed cases have been reported in men who have sex with men, but there are exceptions. The incidence of the disease in this group of people has been explained by the fact that they often apply for health care at a low threshold.
According to Pebody, the summer mass events and festivities themselves are unlikely to exacerbate the epidemic in itself.
“Rather, it’s about what people do at parties. It’s about safe sexual behavior, good hygiene, and regular hand washing. All of these things help limit the spread of the virus. ”
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