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Over 35,000 cases of monkeypox detected worldwide — WHO

It is noted that almost 7,500 cases were reported last week

GENEVA, August 17. /TASS/. More than 35,000 cases of monkeypox have been detected in 92 countries and territories, with reports of 12 fatalities, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing in Geneva on Wednesday.

"More than 35,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported to WHO from 92 countries and territories, with 12 deaths. Almost 7,500 cases were reported last week, a 20% increase over the previous week which was also 20% more than the week before," he stated.

The majority of reports of the known cases of monkeypox came from European countries and the Americas. The WHO director general added that those infected are mostly men who engaged in sexual activity with men. He recommended to all countries to focus on preventing the spread of the infection "using effective public health tools, including enhanced disease surveillance, careful contact tracing" of those infected. "Vaccines may also play an important part in controlling the outbreak, and in many countries there is high demand for vaccines from the affected communities," the official stressed.

That said, Ghebreyesus admitted that currently "supplies of vaccines and data about their effectiveness are limited," but the organization has begun to receive information from some countries. The WHO is in close contact with vaccine manufacturers as well as with those countries and organizations who are "willing to share doses." "We remain concerned that the inequitable access to vaccines we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic will be repeated," the official concluded.

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease which is endemic to remote regions near tropical forests of Central and Western Africa and is usually transmitted to humans by wild animals such as rodents and primates. The symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and back pains, swollen lymph nodes, chills and fatigue. It may also involve skin rash. According to the WHO, usually the lethality coefficient during monkeypox outbreaks ranges from 1% to 10% with the majority of fatalities in the younger age groups. There is no special vaccine against monkeypox yet inoculation against smallpox provides 85%-protection against this disease.