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Mexico Confirms First Monkeypox Case

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 05/30/2022 - 16:16

Mexico reported the first confirmed case of monkeypox this weekend, reported Deputy Minister of Health, Hugo López-Gatell. The infected person is a 50-year-old man who lives in New York and it is suspected that he was infected in the Netherlands.

López-Gatell explained that the man is being treated in Mexico City and is isolated, stable and showing mild symptoms. “Monkeypox is spread from person to person by direct contact. It is not spread by air, water or food. The efficiency of contagion is low, so there are generally isolated cases or small outbreaks, not generalized epidemics,” said the Deputy Minister.

So far, the World Health Organization (WHO) has registered at least 200 cases of this disease in 20 countries and the organization is considering whether the outbreak should be assessed as a potential public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), a WHO official told Reuters.

Monkeypox cases have been recorded since the late 1950s. Despite its name, it has been known to infect rodents. Monkeypox can occasionally be deadly, especially in poor places with inadequate healthcare, and is closely related to smallpox, which has plagued humans for millennia.

To date, all confirmed cases have been identified as being caused by the West African clade. Monkeypox endemic countries are: Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana (identified in animals only), Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.

In most cases, monkeypox does not require a treatment but it is important to take care of the rash by letting it dry if possible or covering with a moist dressing to protect the area if needed. There is one treatment approved for this specific disease called vaccinia immune globulin (VIG), which may be recommended for severe cases. This antiviral (tecovirimat, commercialized as TPOXX) was developed to treat smallpox but its use for the treatment of monkeypox was approved in Jan. 2022.

Although in 2019 a monkeypox vaccine was approved, its availability is limited, MBN previously reported. Consequently, currently there is no vaccine or treatment available for this disease. The smallpox vaccine has an efficacy rate of 85 percent against monkeypox, as reported by WHO.

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Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst