Monkey pox: the Emergency Committee meets on July 21

The WHO Emergency Committee will meet next Thursday to determine ways to stem the outbreak of monkeypox, which has crossed the 10,000 case mark in some 60 countries, the health agency said on Thursday.

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In particular, the Committee will have to decide on the seriousness of the resurgence of cases of monkeypox, and on its qualification as a “public health emergency of international concern”, the highest level of alert of the organization.

It will meet for the second time, while it had ruled out the increase in the alert level at its previous meeting on June 23.

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 11,068 confirmed cases in 65 countries.

Europe remains by far the epicenter of the current wave, with 8,238 cases in 35 countries, according to figures from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CEDC), dated July 12.

The bar of 500 cases has been crossed in five European countries: in Spain, the most affected country on the Old Continent with 2,034 confirmed cases, followed by the United Kingdom (1,735), Germany (1,636), France (721) and the Netherlands (503).

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.

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

A distant cousin of human smallpox, but considered far less dangerous, monkeypox usually heals on its own within two or three weeks.

New symptoms

Its spread outside the ten African countries where the virus is endemic has however been accompanied by a change in the most common symptoms.

According to the first study on the subject, published at the beginning of July in the Lancet Infectious Diseases and relating to British patients, the bouts of fever are less frequent and shorter than for the cases recorded in Africa, while the skin lesions are concentrated on the genitals.

Rashes can also appear in the mouth, says Public Health France, which reports cases of sore throat and body aches as well as pain in the lymph nodes, which can swell in the neck or on the stomach. elder.

If the overwhelming majority of European and American cases concern 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.

The human smallpox vaccine, of which some countries – notably the United States – kept doses after its eradication in 1980, could be reused against monkeypox, but the WHO recommends vaccinating only health professionals for the moment.

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