The outbreak of the monkeypox virus in North America and Europe is initially spreading through sex among men, with about 200 confirmed and suspected cases in at least a dozen countries, World Health Organization officials said Monday.
The outbreak has spread rapidly across Europe and North America over the past week and is expected to become more widespread as more doctors look for signs and symptoms. Two confirmed and one suspected cases of monkeypox in the UK were reported to the WHO just 10 days ago, the first case outside Africa this year where the virus has generally spread at low levels in the last 40 years, the agency said.
“We’ve seen a few incidents in Europe over the last five years, not just among travelers, but this is the first time we’ve seen cases in many countries where people haven’t traveled to the African continent at the same time.” Rosamund Lewis, who conducts WHO’s smallpox research, said in a Q&A live stream on the company’s social media channels.
According to the German military, European countries have confirmed dozens of cases of monkeypox outbreaks on the continent. The United States and Canada have confirmed at least two lawsuits, and Canada has so far confirmed at least five. Belgium has just introduced a mandatory 21-day quarantine for monkeypox patients.
The WHO called an emergency meeting this weekend to view the virus via video conference, identify the most at-risk individuals, and study its transmission. The agency will hold its second global meeting on monkeypox next week to study in more detail the risks and treatments available for fighting the virus.
Although the virus itself is not a sexually transmitted infection, usually spread through semen and vaginal fluids, the latest outbreak has spread among men who have sex with other men, WHO officials say, stressing that anyone can be infected. Monkeypox
“Sexually transmitted diseases can spread many diseases. Sexually transmitted diseases can cause coughs or colds, but that does not mean that it is a sexually transmitted disease,” said Andy Seal, who advises the WHO on HIV, hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases. Infection Infection.
The virus is spread through close contact with infected people, animals or objects. It enters the body through broken skin, respiratory tract, eyes, nose and mouth. Although human-to-human transmission is also believed to occur through respiratory droplets, the procedure requires prolonged face-to-face contact because, according to the CDC, droplets cannot travel more than a few feet.
“It’s a virus that is extremely stable outside of the human host, so it can live in blankets and things like that,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC in a separate interview Monday. “And so you see situations where people become reluctant to try on clothing, this kind of thing, where it’s like New York City where it’s spreading, it can be disruptive.”
He said more confirmed cases are expected in the United States in the coming weeks as physicians and public health officials re-evaluate patients with symptoms and the virus continues to spread.
Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus from the same family as smallpox, but it is not as serious, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, according to the CDC, based on observations in Africa, monkeypox can kill 1 in 10 people who are infected.
Vaccines used to prevent smallpox appear to be about 85% effective in protecting against monkeypox in observational studies in Africa, WHO officials say. However, vaccines are not widely available, so it is important to preserve them for the most at-risk populations, says Maria Van Kerkhov, WHO’s leading epidemiologist on Zoonotic Disease. He said the WHO would team up with vaccine makers to see if they could increase production.
Early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, back pain, muscle aches and low strength, WHO officials said. It then develops into blisters on the face, hands, feet, eyes, mouth or genitals that turn into raised bumps or papules, which later become blisters that are often similar to chicken pox. They can then be filled with a white liquid, turning into a pustule, which breaks down and becomes a scab.
Gottlieb described it as a debilitating disease that can last from two to four months and has a long incubation period of 21 days.
“I don’t think it’s going to spread uncontrollably the way we’ve tolerated the Covid-19 epidemic,” Gottlieb said. “But now there is a possibility that it has been acquired within the community if in fact it is wider than what we are measuring now, which becomes difficult to figure out.”
– CNBC’s Spencer Kimball And Karen Gilchrist Contribute to this article.
Disclosure: Dr. Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and he is a board member of Pfizer, Genetic Testing Start-up Tempas, Health Care Tech Company Aetion and Biotech Company. The Illuminati. He is also serving as its vice-president Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings‘And Royal CaribbeanIts “healthy sail panel.”