More than 3.2 thousand confirmed cases of monkeypox infection have been identified in 48 countries since the beginning of 2022. This was announced on June 23 by the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
He spoke at a meeting in Geneva of a WHO committee that is to determine whether the current outbreak of monkeypox constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
“Just six weeks ago, WHO received notification of a cluster of three cases of monkeypox among people who had not traveled outside the UK. Since then, the WHO has received reports from 48 countries, including Nigeria, of more than 3,200 confirmed cases of monkeypox and one death,” said the director general of the organization.
According to him, the scale of transmission of the virus from person to person, “probably underestimated.” Ghebreyesus recalled that since the beginning of this year, almost 1.5 thousand unconfirmed cases of monkeypox infection and about 70 deaths have been reported from Africa. Basically, we are talking about the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Ghebreyesus urged WHO member countries to share information about detected cases of the disease. According to him, it is necessary not only to work to identify the infected, but also to monitor the contacts that sick people could have with healthy people. In addition, laboratory tests, sequencing of the virus, as well as measures to prevent the spread of infection are needed, the head of WHO emphasized.
The first meeting of the emergency committee dealing with monkeypox opened in Geneva on Thursday. This structure is headed by a specialist from the DRC, Dr. Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, formerly Director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, WHO. The committee is co-chaired by a Swiss professor of epidemiology and public medicine from the University of Bern Nicolas Low. The committee also includes 14 experts, including the head of the Russian center “Vector” Rinat Maksyutov. In addition, the structure includes eight consultants.