Published On: Sun, May 22nd, 2022

U.S. President Biden Warns of Potential Global Monkeypox Virus Spread, WHO Concerned

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By Janet Ekstract

ISTANBUL -On Sunday, U.S. President Joe Biden warned that people should be on the alert for monkeypox virus which he said has the potential for “consequential” impact were it to spread beyond the isolated cases into the general population. Biden said that health officials did not yet fully brief him on the level of exposure in the U.S. and said it is something everyone has to be concerned about. Biden said, “We’re working on it hard to figure out what we do, and what vaccine if any, might be available for it.” On Saturday, WHO said there were 92 cases of monkeypox in countries where it is not endemic.

On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that it’s increasing efforts to combat monkeypox since an outbreak occurred in close to 12 countries. WHO said it is investigating what it calls “atypical” outbreaks and is monitoring the spread. So far, according to media reports, Europe and the U.S. are dealing with isolated cases but Turkey said it has not had any monkeypox cases, so far.

The monkeypox virus originated in West and Central Africa, originating in primates and animals who have had contact with primates. According to WHO, thousands of people in those regions in Africa have been infected over the years. Meanwhile, WHO stated, “Contact with live and dead animals through hunting and consumption of wild game or use of animal-derived products are presumed sources of human infection. Milder cases of monkeypox in adults could go undetected, misdiagnosed or unreported and represent a risk of human-to-human transmission.”

WHO reported that additional cases will likely occur and that the rise in cases in Europe and North America is surprising public health professionals because the disease is so rare and typically only found on the African continent. WHO also said that transmissions between humans is also very rare.  The U.S. has recorded two cases of monkeypox in Massachusetts and New York City. Other countries with at least one case of monkeypox include: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

People who are at high risk are those who interact closely with a person infected with the disease. WHO said, “This includes health workers, household members and sexual partners.” Right now, experts said they don’t foresee these cases turning into a global health crisis because the disease is not easily transmitted, they added. Monkeypox is a rare disease related to the smallpox family of viruses, health experts say and the majority of those who have studied the virus extensively, report that a global outbreak would be a rare occurrence. 

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