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WHO does not recommend mass vaccination against monkeypox

The World Health Organization (WHO) does not consider vaccination against monkeypox a priority in any country, a disease that has had about 200 cases recorded in non-endemic countries, as stated in this Friday (27) agency experts.

“Contact tracing, case study and isolation are, for now, the main tools for control the disease,” said Rosamund Lewis, from the WHO’s smallpox department, during a technical session on the outbreak, held within the organization’s annual assembly.

Mike Ryan, director of Health Emergencies at the agency, in turn, stated that, “probably, each country will need a small contingent of vaccines, but not on a large scale”.

Regarding the groups that could be targeted by immunization campaigns, Lewis indicated that each country could draw up its own guidelines, but that, since 2013, there is a recommendation for employees of laboratories, health professionals and first aid workers.

The immunization against conventional smallpox, a more serious disease, however, eradicated since 1978, is highly effective, although the WHO admitted not having data on the doses stored on the planet. As a result, countries were requested to disclose information on the subject.

In parallel, a more modern vaccine against monkeypox was approved by regulatory bodies in the United States and Canada, although it has not been submitted. to WHO classification studies, Lewis explained.

Sylvie Briand, WHO Director for Epidemic and Pandemic Diseases, assured that the agency currently excludes the possibility of recommending travel limitations because of the current outbreak of the disease.

Today’s technical session did not present data by country, although it was reported that Spain, Portugal, UK, Canada and the USA are the most affected by the spread of the disease between non-endemic.

Briand explained that the disease “should not worry the general public like other rapidly transmitted diseases, such as covid-19”, nor should it cause anxiety, although it has asked that general health surveillance be increased.

According to the director of the WHO, the case fatality rate of monkeypox in endemic countries (Central and West Africa) ranges from 3% to 6%.

“Overall, it is a disease of moderate symptoms, but it can be more serious in children, pregnant women or people with certain health conditions”, said the specialist.

“Generally, the infection lasts from two to four weeks, starts with fever, headaches , fatigue or itching, which can progress to skin rashes, which usually start on the face and can spread”, pointed out Briand.

As preventive measures, the WHO recommends avoiding physical contact with infected people, wearing a mask when being close to them or with their clothes, in addition to cleaning and disinfecting possibly contaminated surfaces.

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