WHO issues dire monkeypox warning amid 20 UK infections – ‘Formidable challenges’

Nicola Sturgeon slammed by Cole-Hamilton over Covid powers

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, Director General of the WHO, made the remarks in Geneva where experts are discussing the monkeypox outbreak. Around 80 cases have been confirmed in Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and Israel.

However, the risk to the public is said to be low, according to experts.

Monkeypox is a virus that is usually found in Central and West Africa but it doesn’t easily spread between people.

It is also usually mild and, according to the NHS, most people who catch the virus will recover within a few weeks.

However, scientists have been taken by surprise by the outbreak with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) now advising that cases or high risk cases should isolate for three weeks.

According to The Guardian, more confirmed cases are expected to be announced on Monday.

Belgium announced a three week quarantine for infected people on Friday – the first European country to do so.

Speaking at Sunday’s opening of the World Health Assembly, Director General Dr Tedros said that the world faced a “formidable convergence” of problems.

He said: “Of course the [Covid] pandemic is not the only crisis in our world. 

“As we speak our colleagues around the world are responding to outbreaks of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, monkeypox and hepatitis of unknown cause and complex humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine and Yemen.

“We face a formidable convergence of disease, drought, famine and war, fuelled by climate change, inequity and geopolitical rivalry.”

The WHO said earlier that more suspected monkeypox cases were being investigated with more cases likely to be confirmed.

Although the outbreak was first identified in the UK, it has spread to a number of other European countries including Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden. 

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Austria and Switzerland also confirmed cases on Sunday.

Around 20 cases have been identified by the UK Health Security Agency, with its Chief medical advisor Dr Susan Hopkins telling the BBC: “We are detecting more cases on a daily basis.”

Dr Hopkins added that the virus is now spreading in the community with cases identified amongst people who have had no contact with anyone who has travelled to West Africa where the disease is common.

However, the risk is “extremely low” with Dr Hopkins emphasising that cases have mostly been found in urban areas or among gay or bisexual men.

Although there isn’t a specific vaccine for the disease, some countries are utilising smallpox vaccines which are around 85 percent effective at preventing infection as the two diseases have some similarities.

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