The World Health Organization’s Regional Director for South-East Asia Region, Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh has said monkeypox is highly concentrated among men who have sex with men especially those with multiple sex partners.
She explained that the cases of monkeypox virus are concentrated among men who have sex with men.
He said that cases are being reported in countries that have not seen it before.
“Monkeypox has been spreading rapidly and to many countries that have not seen it before, which is a matter of great concern.
"However, with cases concentrated among men who have sex with men, it is possible to curtail further spread of the disease with focused efforts among at-risk population,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, he added.
He called on countries in the South-East Asia region to intensify surveillance and public health measures for monkeypox.
“Globally, over 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported from 75 countries,” the global health body said.
“Importantly, our focused efforts and measures should be sensitive, devoid of stigma or discrimination.”
“Importantly, our focused efforts and measures should be sensitive, devoid of stigma or discrimination,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said.
She went on to say that though the risk of monkeypox globally and in the (South-East Asia) Region is moderate, the potential of its further international spread is real.
“Also, there are still many unknowns about the virus. We need to stay alert and prepared to roll out intense response to curtail further spread of monkeypox,” Dr Khetrapal Singh added.
On Saturday (23 July, 2022), the WHO declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency.
“I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly through new modes of transmission about which we understand too little and which meets the criteria in the international health regulations,” the WHO chief said.
“I know this has not been an easy or straightforward process and that there are divergent views among the members” of the committee,” the WHO DG added.
Meanwhile, she has highlighted key measures that countries must put in place need to restrict the spread of monkeypox virus.
The measures include, 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.
How monkeypox virus is transmitted or spread?
According to the WHO, the virus is transmitted from infected animals to humans via indirect or direct contact.
Human-to-human transmission can occur through direct contact with infectious skin or lesions, including face-to-face, skin-to-skin, and respiratory droplets. In the current outbreak countries and amongst the reported monkeypox cases, transmission appears to be occurring 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.
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