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WHO to convene emergency meeting over monkeypox outbreak - report

The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to convene an emergency meeting of experts to discuss the latest outbreak of monkeypox in wake of rapidly rising cases, according to Russian media. Picture: AFP

The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to convene an emergency meeting of experts to discuss the latest outbreak of monkeypox in wake of rapidly rising cases, according to Russian media. Picture: AFP

Published May 20, 2022

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Washington - The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to convene an emergency meeting of experts to discuss the latest outbreak of monkeypox in wake of rapidly rising cases, according to Russian media.

The meeting's agenda is believed to be about the ways of the virus' transmission, its high prevalence in gays and bisexual men, as well as the situation with vaccines, Sputnik News Agency citing The Telegraph, reported on Friday.

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Since early May, the cases of monkeypox have been witnessed in several countries across the world, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Australia and Canada.

On May 7, a case of monkeypox was confirmed in England in a patient who recently travelled from Nigeria, as per the UK Health Security Agency.

On May 18, the US' Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed a single case of monkeypox virus infection in an adult male with recent travels to Canada.

According to the release, the case poses no risk to the public, and the individual is hospitalised and in good condition.

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"Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically begins with flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2 to 4 weeks.

In parts of central and west Africa where monkeypox occurs, people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products," the statement reads.

This virus does not spread easily among people, but transmission can occur through contact with the body fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.

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Earlier, no monkeypox cases had been identified in the US in 2022, while in Texas and Maryland, one case was reported in 2021 in people with recent travels to Nigeria.

While the United Kingdom has identified nine cases of monkeypox in early May 2022, the first case had recently travelled to Nigeria. None of the other cases have reported recent travels.

UK health officials reported that the most recent cases in the UK were in men who have sex with men.

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"Based on findings of the Massachusetts case and the recent cases in the UK, clinicians should consider a diagnosis of monkeypox in people who present with an otherwise unexplained rash and 1) travelled, in the last 30 days, to a country that has recently had confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox 2) report contact with a person or people with confirmed or suspected monkeypox, or 3) is a man who reports sexual contact with other men.

This clinical guidance is consistent with recommendations from UK health officials and US federal health officials, based on identified cases," the statement reads.

According to the statement, suspected cases may present with early flu-like symptoms and progress to lesions that may begin on one site on the body and spread to other parts, and the illness could be clinically confused with a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes, or with varicella zoster virus.

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