PAHO Reports 1,325 Monkeypox Cases in the AmericasBy Rodrigo Andrade | Mon, 07/11/2022 - 17:18
The Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) latest Epidemiological Update reported that the Americas has a total of 1,325 monkeypox cases in 14 countries. During the period evaluated, cases in the US increased by 77 percent and in Canada by 31 percent. Both countries have 81 percent of cases in the region. During the same period, cases in Brazil and Peru increased by 198 and 500 percent, respectively.
Out of the 472 cases for which information on gender and age was available, three quarters occurred in men between 18 and 44 years of age. Out of the 168 cases that reported sexual orientation, 94 percent self-identified as men who have sex with men and of these 24 percent are HIV positive. Of the 52 cases with information on probable place of exposure, 35 percent claimed to have assisted social events with sexual contact. Out of the 145 cases with available information, 92 percent reported being health workers. These cases are being studied to see if the infection was caused by occupational exposure.
Experts agree that monkeypox is transmitted only by direct contact, discarding transmission by air, food or water contamination. The efficiency of contagion is low. “The current epidemiology of monkeypox cases is unusual because most cases are unlinked and will mean that vigilance is required across the world, but unlike SARS-CoV-2 this virus is better understood and methods to prevent its spread can be actioned swiftly,” said David Tscharke, Head of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, John Curtin School of Medical Research, as reported by MBN.
Tedros Adhanom, Head, WHO, announced that the Emergency Committee will assess another meeting to determine whether monkeypox is an international emergency. “Testing remains a challenge and it is highly likely that there are a significant number of cases that remain undetected. The EU is the current epicenter of the outbreak, accounting for more than 80 percent of cases worldwide,” said Adhanom.
The WHO urged Member States to perform surveillance, diagnosis, contact investigation and follow-up, clinical management, infection prevention and control of monkeypox cases. “Considering the school break and vacation period in several countries in the region, the possibility of attending events with large crowds of people increases and with it the likelihood of increased exposure to monkeypox infection” explains the report.