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Monkey pox: faced with the outbreak of the virus, the WHO convenes an Emergency Committee this Thursday

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Monkey pox continues to spread in France and around the world. Faced with the outbreak of cases, the WHO is convening an Emergency Committee this Thursday.

The WHO Emergency Committee is meeting this Thursday, July 21 to determine ways to control the outbreak of monkeypox. He must in particular pronounce on the seriousness of the resurgence of cases, and on his qualification “of public health emergency of international concern”, the highest level of alert of the organization. The Committee is meeting for the second time, after having ruled out the increase in the alert level at its previous meeting on June 23.

Europe particularly affected

Indeed, the number of confirmed cases in the world has since increased sharply: the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), author of the most recent data on the subject, now lists more than 11,000 confirmed cases in 65 countries.

Europe is the region of the world most affected by monkeypox. According to figures from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) as of July 14, 7,128 confirmed cases have been recorded in the EU, “an increase of almost 50% compared to the week before”. according to European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides. Spain (2477 cases) and Germany (1790 cases) are particularly affected. France is also not spared. As of July 12, 912 cases of monkeypox were confirmed in France, including 569 cases in Ile-de-France.

Worry

The head of the UN health agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has repeatedly expressed his concern about the current spread of the disease, usually confined to certain African countries, and urged member countries to take the adequate measures to limit contamination.

“I re-emphasize that we must work to stop transmission and advise governments to implement contact tracing to monitor and contain the virus and provide assistance to people in isolation,” Dr. Tedros explained during the meeting. a press conference in Geneva.

Rashes on the genitals or in the mouth

A distant cousin of human smallpox, but considered far less dangerous, monkeypox usually heals on its own within two or three weeks. It is characterized by skin rashes, which may appear on the genitals or in the mouth, and may be accompanied by fever, sore throat or pain in the lymph nodes.

The virus can be transmitted by direct contact with lesions on the skin or mucous membranes of a patient, as well as by droplets. “Sexual intercourse (…) meets these conditions for contamination, and having several partners increases the risk of being exposed to the virus”, recalls Public Health France.

If in the overwhelming majority of European and American cases the patients are men who have had sex with men, they are not the only ones concerned, some cases having also been detected in children and immunocompromised people.

Expansion of vaccination

On May 20, the High Authority for Health implemented “post-exposure reactive vaccination for people whose contact with an infected person is considered to be at risk of exposure”. On July 8, faced with the progression of the virus, the HAS recommended an extension of vaccination “to the groups most exposed to the virus”. An opinion followed by the government.

For its part, the European Commission announced on Monday the purchase of 54,530 additional doses of the monkeypox vaccine under its contract with the Danish laboratory Bavarian Nordic. The number of doses purchased on behalf of European countries now stands at 163,620.

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