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WHO says no evidence monkeypox virus has mutated

WHO says no evidence monkeypox virus has mutated

A senior executive at the World Health Organization stated on Monday that there is no evidence that the monkeypox virus has evolved, noting that the infectious disease that has been endemic in west and central Africa has tended not to alter.

Rosamund Lewis, the head of the WHO Emergencies Programme’s smallpox secretariat, told a press conference that mutations are normally lower with this virus, though genome sequencing of patients will aid understanding of the present outbreak.

Concerning changes that could make a virus more easily transmissible or severe are monitored by health specialists.

According to Maria van Kerkhove, the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonoses lead and technical lead on COVID-19, over 100 suspected and confirmed cases in a recent outbreak in Europe and North America were not severe.

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“This is a manageable scenario,” she remarked, particularly in Europe. “However, we can’t turn our gaze away from what’s going on in Africa, in countries where it’s endemic.”

According to the WHO, the outbreaks are unusual because they occur in countries where the virus does not normally spread. Scientists are trying to figure out where the cases came from and if the virus has mutated in any way.

The WHO has asked dermatology and primary care clinics, as well as sexual health clinics, to be on the lookout for possible instances.

PATIENTS WHO TAKE ACTION

Many, but not all, of the people diagnosed with monkeypox in the current outbreak have had sex with other men (MSM).

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It’s too early to explain why, although this demographic is more likely to seek medical counselors and have access to sexual health screening, according to officials.

Monkeypox is not easily shared between people, but it can be spread through close touch or contact with goods used by someone who has monkeypox, such as clothing, bedding, or utensils.

“We know that if MSM notices an atypical rash, they’ll want to get it checked out very away,” said Andy Seale, a strategist with the WHO’s Department of Global HIV, Hepatitis, and STI Programmes.

“Part of the story could be that they’ve been proactive in responding to unexpected symptoms. In the coming weeks and days, this will become obvious “Seale explained.

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As surveillance grows, Van Kerkhove expects more cases to be identified.

When asked if the preliminary findings could fuel discrimination, Seale responded: “There are ways we can collaborate with communities to learn from decades of HIV stigma and discriminatory experience. We want to apply what we’ve learned so far to this situation.”

At a news conference on Monday, US health officials claimed one case of monkeypox in Massachusetts had been verified, and they had found four more suspected cases, one each in New York City and Florida, as well as two in Utah.

They said they were all men with a history of international travel and exposures similar to those documented elsewhere.

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