Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, revealed in a new statement that until earlier this year, few people outside Africa and the public health community had heard of monkeypox. More than 50,000 cases of monkeypox and 16 deaths have been reported so far to the World Health Organization since the outbreak began earlier this year..
Already, the number of cases reported this year exceeds the total reported since monkeypox was first identified in 1958 - although there was clearly a significant underreporting in Africa..
He said that although the death rate is very low, many sufferers report severe pain that sometimes requires hospitalization to manage, explaining that the vast majority of cases - more than 95%, are among men who have sex with men, with an average of 36 years old.
He stressed that, among the cases in which a case of HIV infection is known, about 40% of cases of monkeypox The reported cases are among people also infected with HIV, however, we need more information from more countries about how these conditions interact..
He added, “It is encouraging to see that in some countries in Europe and North America we are now experiencing a sustained decline in cases, which indicates the effectiveness of public health interventions and community engagement to track infection and prevent transmission. Stop this outbreak.
And in areas where it is not transmitted from animal to human, this virus can be eliminated, but that will not only happen, to stop and eliminate this virus, we need first and foremost the evidence that it is possible, which we are now starting to see, but we also need to political will and commitment; Implementation of public health measures in communities that need them most, and for these measures to be effective, community participation is essential, stressing, this is true for responding to any outbreak or health threat, but this is especially true in societies where many are still of countries face stigma, discrimination and criminalization.
We must also work hard to ensure that the inequalities in access to vaccines, testing and treatment we saw in the COVID-19 pandemic do not repeat.
When testing, tests are available PCR Only, and not many countries have access to it, the World Health Organization is in touch with a number of manufacturers who are working to develop rapid tests, which would be a welcome new tool..
When treated, WHO maintains a small reserve of tecovirimat We are also in discussions with the SAG advisory group, which we will make available to countries on request for compassionate use, under certain conditions, he added. SIGA About the donation of doses under the WHO Protocol for the Ethical Use of Experimental Therapies.
We are working to ensure that when using these antivirals, evidence is collected through clinical trials or standardized study designs to evaluate safety and efficacy in humans..
Regarding vaccines, I was pleased last week that the WHO Regional Office for the Americas signed an agreement with Northern Bavaria to support access to that company's vaccine in Latin America and the Caribbean..
We are also in contact with Japan about donating nearly 100,000 vaccine doses to research, with more donations likely in the future. It is encouraging to see progress, but there are clear challenges in terms of production capacity and rapidly developing clinical evidence..