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Update on the monkeypox outbreak in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

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  The spread of the monkeypox outbreak has been sporadic in the Eastern Mediterranean Region with 33 laboratory confirmed cases in 6 countries and no associated deaths reported Most cases have no history of travel to areas where the outbreak circulates widely The average age among reported cases is 31 years old but the age ranges from 8 to 59 Among the reported cases was an 8 year old boy in Lebanon The monkeypox outbreak is not exclusive to one group of people and anyone can get the disease by coming into direct skin to skin contact with someone who has symptoms or by touching infected objects said Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean All of us are at risk So even if we have only a few cases in our Region let s take the risk seriously and take the necessary steps to stop transmission and protect people especially vulnerable groups The response to the monkeypox outbreak involves a comprehensive approach that engages and protects affected communities intensifies surveillance and public health measures strengthens clinical management and infection prevention and control in hospitals and clinics and accelerates research on the efficacy of vaccines therapies and other instruments The WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean is supporting Member States and partners in all these areas with a special focus on vulnerable groups New information about modes of transmission severity of illness therapy and vaccine efficacy is being revealed as more research is done Building on the lessons from COVID 19 the research is being integrated into overall monkeypox response efforts Although most people with monkeypox will recover without specific treatment within a few weeks the disease has the potential to cause serious complications that in some circumstances can lead to death During the current global outbreak there have been only 12 deaths out of more than 34 000 cases with none occurring in our Region But in previous outbreaks death rates have been much higher therefore we must take this new public health threat very seriously Monkeypox can also cause a variety of signs and symptoms including rash fever swollen lymph nodes fatigue headache and muscle aches Only a small percentage of patients will require hospital treatment and those at higher risk of serious illness or complications including pregnant people children and people who are immunocompromised It is still important to note that monkeypox is completely preventable and simple measures can reduce the risk of infection Currently the best of these is to avoid close contact with someone who has monkeypox Vaccine supplies are limited in quantity When these vaccines become available WHO recommends targeted vaccination for people exposed to someone with monkeypox and people at high risk of exposure including health care workers some laboratory workers and those with multiple sexual partners Unlike COVID 19 mass vaccination against monkeypox is not recommended due to the different mechanisms by which the disease is transmitted and because more targeted vaccination approaches may be effective in protecting people most at risk However data on the efficacy of these vaccines in preventing monkeypox in clinical practice and in field settings are still limited Many unknowns remain about its clinical effects and its most appropriate use in different contexts Furthermore to minimize the unnecessary negative impact of the disease on trade travel tourism or animal welfare and to avoid offending cultural social national regional professional or ethnic groups the WHO convened an ad hoc meeting with a group of scientists last week about considering changing the name of monkeypox After extensive review the group agreed to hold an open public consultation for a new disease name for monkeypox
Update on the monkeypox outbreak in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

1 The spread of the monkeypox outbreak has been sporadic in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, with 33 laboratory-confirmed cases in 6 countries and no associated deaths reported.

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2 Most cases have no history of travel to areas where the outbreak circulates widely.

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3 The average age among reported cases is 31 years old, but the age ranges from 8 to 59.

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4 Among the reported cases was an 8-year-old boy in Lebanon.

5 “The monkeypox outbreak is not exclusive to one group of people, and anyone can get the disease by coming into direct skin-to-skin contact with someone who has symptoms or by touching infected objects,” said Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari.

6 , WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

7 “All of us are at risk.

8 So even if we have only a few cases in our Region, let’s take the risk seriously and take the necessary steps to stop transmission and protect people, especially vulnerable groups.”

9 The response to the monkeypox outbreak involves a comprehensive approach that engages and protects affected communities, intensifies surveillance and public health measures, strengthens clinical management and infection prevention and control in hospitals and clinics, and accelerates research on the efficacy of vaccines, therapies and other instruments.

10 The WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean is supporting Member States and partners in all these areas, with a special focus on vulnerable groups.

11 New information about modes of transmission, severity of illness, therapy, and vaccine efficacy is being revealed as more research is done.

12 Building on the lessons from COVID-19, the research is being integrated into overall monkeypox response efforts.

13 Although most people with monkeypox will recover without specific treatment within a few weeks, the disease has the potential to cause serious complications that, in some circumstances, can lead to death.

14 During the current global outbreak, there have been only 12 deaths out of more than 34,000 cases, with none occurring in our Region.

15 But in previous outbreaks, death rates have been much higher; therefore, we must take this new public health threat very seriously.

16 Monkeypox can also cause a variety of signs and symptoms, including rash, fever, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, headache, and muscle aches.

17 Only a small percentage of patients will require hospital treatment, and those at higher risk of serious illness or complications, including pregnant people, children, and people who are immunocompromised.

18 It is still important to note that monkeypox is completely preventable and simple measures can reduce the risk of infection.

19 Currently, the best of these is to avoid close contact with someone who has monkeypox.

20 Vaccine supplies are limited in quantity.

21 When these vaccines become available, WHO recommends targeted vaccination for people exposed to someone with monkeypox and people at high risk of exposure, including health care workers, some laboratory workers, and those with multiple sexual partners.

22 Unlike COVID-19, mass vaccination against monkeypox is not recommended due to the different mechanisms by which the disease is transmitted and because more targeted vaccination approaches may be effective in protecting people most at risk .

23 However, data on the efficacy of these vaccines in preventing monkeypox in clinical practice and in field settings are still limited.

24 Many unknowns remain about its clinical effects and its most appropriate use in different contexts.

25 Furthermore, to minimize the unnecessary negative impact of the disease on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare and to avoid offending cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups, the WHO convened an ad hoc meeting with a group of scientists last week about considering changing the name of monkeypox.

26 After extensive review, the group agreed to hold an open public consultation for a new disease name for monkeypox.

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