World witnessing unexpected emergence of monkeypox: WHO

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Dr. Poonam Khetrapal, Regional Director of the World Health Organization South-East Asia, said cases of Monkeypox are being reported from multiple countries, reported ANI.

“Many of them have not seen cases of Monkeypox before. The unexpected appearance of this disease globally and in a wide geographic area indicates that the disease may have been circulating below the detection of the surveillance systems. It is possible that sustained human-to-human transmission through close contact – direct or indirect – remained undetected for some time,” she said.

“Genomic studies have revealed that the monkeypox virus seems to have changed over recent years. More studies are needed to understand the virus’s evolution. WHO is regularly reviewing available data with its laboratory and other expert groups,” she added.

Speaking on what measures India should take for the prevention and control of Monkeypox, she said, “In the current Monkeypox outbreak, transmission occurred primarily through close physical contact, including sexual contact. Transmission can also occur from contaminated materials such as linens, bedding, electronics, and clothing, that have infectious skin particles. There are still many unknowns about the virus.”

“Since the start of the outbreak, WHO has been supporting countries to assess risk, and initiating public health measures, while also building and facilitating testing capacities in the region. Engaging and protecting the affected communities; intensifying surveillance and public health measures; strengthening clinical management and infection prevention and control in hospitals and clinics; and accelerating research into the use of vaccines, therapeutics, and other tools, are among the key response measures. We need to stay alert and be prepared to roll out an intense response to curtail the spread of Monkeypox. And while doing this, our efforts and measures should be sensitive, and devoid of stigma and discrimination,” she added.

As per the report, Dr. Khetrapal said the region has been on alert for Monkeypox since the reporting of an increase in cases globally. “Countries have been taking measures to rapidly detect and take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of monkeypox. WHO has been supporting the member countries in the Region to assess the risk for monkeypox and strengthening their capacities to prepare and respond to the evolving multi-country outbreak. We have been sharing guidance for raising awareness; surveillance, case investigation and contact tracing; laboratory diagnostics and testing; clinical management and infection prevention and control and community engagement,” she said. (ANI)

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