WHO urges limiting sexual partners to contain monkeypox

“Consider limiting your sexual partners and interactions at this time,” Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief for Europe, advised those most at risk of contracting the virus this afternoon. monkeypox, as one of the measures to contain transmission of the virus.

abstinence advice sexual It is primarily aimed at men who have sex with men or those who have multiple sexual partners, since the majority of smallpox infections occur in them. The official admitted that “this may be a harsh message, but being careful can protect you and your community.”

The WHO has also warned that vaccination will not be the “magic bullet” that will stop this epidemic (unlike covid), although people at higher risk of contagion or health complications will be vaccinated. And he asked for the solutions to come out of Europe, because that’s where there are the most cases: at least 12,000 in 37 countries.

This epidemic of monkeypox outside the dozen African countries where it had been endemic for twenty years, already has some 18,000 declared cases. Spain is one of the most affected countries, with 3,738 positives confirmed by the Ministry of Health today, although it is insufficient, as only the Community of Madrid said it had around 230 more than those calculated, 1,695. Vaccination began last week, especially in Madrid and Barcelona, ​​places with the most cases.

There are at least 3,487 cases also in the United States, where the epidemic has grown rapidly in recent weeks (there is more widespread vaccination), and at least 2,200 cases in Britain, 2,350 in Germany and 1,700 in France. There are infections in about 70 countries around the world.

After declaring monkeypox an international emergency, or pandemic, the highest level of health alert on Saturday, the WHO wants countries to take the virus threat more seriously, to take more steps to contain its spread. The director for Europe has asked all countries, infected or not, to take action to prevent or control the virus.

Some 18,000 reported cases

In the current pandemic, contagion is mainly due to close contact during sexual intercourse, but the WHO warns that there are also non-sexual infections between people who share a house, in not always clear cases of exposure to the virus. virus. He called for children, pregnant women and immunocompromised people to be protected above all else.

WHO calls on governments and health authorities, as well as the public, to take action. He asks for diagnostic tests, vaccination to be facilitated – even if Spain, for example, has a very limited number of vaccines – and medical care. And that the positives are well informed of the duration of the infection (21 days) and the need to isolate themselves during this period.

Likewise, the WHO is calling for increased epidemiological surveillance capacity and contact tracing of positives, as many go unidentified, fueling transmission of the virus.

Symptoms not always the same

He also warns doctors that cases do not always show the same symptoms. The UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) has warned that sometimes there is only the characteristic rash caused by the virus, but rather a pimple in the genital or perianal area; others have pustules in the mouth; there may be rectal pain, there is not always fever or fatigue…

Kluge urged governments in Europe and Central Asia to work with each other and not hoard vaccines and antivirals, but make sure they get to “where they are needed most.” He also called for more investment in Africa, where he believes monkeypox has not received the attention it needs over the past decade.

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