Australia & World

What you know about the outbreak so far l SBS News

Health officials are investigating recent outbreaks of monkeypox reported in countries other than Central and West Africa, where rare diseases are endemic.
As of May 21, the World Health Organization (WHO) had 92 confirmed monkeypox cases and 28 suspicious cases from 12 non-epidemic countries, including several European countries, the United States, Canada and Australia. I reported.
Two cases have been identified in Australia. The first case was a man in his thirties in Victoria, announced by the State Department of Health on May 19.

The second case (male in his 40s) was confirmed the next day in New South Wales. Both recently traveled to Europe and are now isolated.

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Authorities are investigating possible causes of this outbreak, as the reported cases do not have an established travel link to Central and West Africa where the virus is endemic. WHO expects more cases to occur in the coming weeks as surveillance expands in non-epidemic countries.
According to experts, monkeypox is usually a mild viral infection that spreads through close contact.
The risk to the general public is low and the outbreak is “containable,” but they say that awareness is important as the investigation continues.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease. In other words, it is a virus that infects humans from various rodents and animals, including non-human primates.
According to Professor Raina MacIntyre, an epidemiologist at the University of New South Wales, it is closely associated with the virus that causes smallpox, but it is not clinically so severe.

“Usually found in animals, including monkeys, but also in other animals. It can spread from animal to human, and in some cases from human to human,” McIntyre told SBS News. ..

With the eradication of smallpox in 1980 and the termination of smallpox vaccination, WHO states that monkeypox has emerged as “the most important orthopox virus for public health.”
According to WHO, the first case of monkeypox in humans was confirmed in 1970 in a 9-year-old boy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Smallpox was eliminated in the area two years ago.
There are two major strains of monkeypox virus in Central and West Africa.
“1 [strain] The case fatality rate is about 1%, which is similar to COVID-19. And the other is a case fatality rate of about 10%, which is similar to the first SARS, “says Professor McIntyre.

Current outbreaks in non-epidemic countries do not appear to be very serious.

How does it spread and what are the symptoms?

Monkeypox can spread to humans through close contact with infected people and animals, WHO said. It can be transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, or substances contaminated with the virus.
Dr. Chrismoi, Vice President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), said that unlike viruses like COVID-19, “it requires a lot of contact and is not as widespread as a wildfire.”
“It’s pretty hard to actually catch. In general, it requires very close physical contact with someone else who is infected with it, which can be your skin, broken skin, or your eyes. It goes through the nose, “he told SBS News.
According to Dr. Moi, most are mild and have symptoms such as high fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle and body aches, and blistering-type rashes on the body.

People with monkeypox are usually infected for up to 21 days until the lesions heal and the symptoms do not persist.

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Who is at risk?

Those at risk are those who are symptomatic but who have physical close contact with the infected person.
“We are all at risk of being infected with such a virus that does not have innate immunity,” John Blakey, an associate professor of respiratory physician at Searcher’s Gardner Hospital, told SBS News.
According to WHO, some cases reported from non-epidemic countries have been identified in men who have sex with men.
“The reason for the increasing number of reports of monkeypox cases in the male community currently having sex with men may be due to the positive health-seeking behavior in this demographic,” he says.
Professor Blakey said this was more likely due to the mode of infection than to the community being more or less vulnerable to catching the virus.
“There seems to have been a major spreader event … so there seems to be a lot of reports of infections between men who have sex with men,” he said.
Sunday United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) Some reports of monkeypox use languages ​​and images that “enhance homosexual disgust and racist stereotypes,” warning that they will exacerbate stigma and impair the response to the spread of outbreaks. I am.

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“Stigma and blame undermine the confidence and ability to respond effectively in the event of such an outbreak,” said Matthew Cabana, Deputy Managing Director of UNAIDS.
Thorne Harbor Health is a community organization that supports the LGBTIQ + community in Victoria.
According to its promotional policy and communications director, Colin Battronie, these stories “have a devastating impact on both gay men, their loved ones, and the entire community during the first decades of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Was supported by. “
“I hope we are beyond that now,” he said.
He said there are many influences of stigmatizing words.
“For some, it can enhance both the internalization and externalization of homosexual aversion and can have devastating consequences for the mental health and well-being of gay men,” he said.
“In addition, it can lead to gay men not seeking diagnosis or treatment when needed, which can lead to increased transmission and acquisition of the infection.”
However, WHO emphasizes that the risk of monkeypox is not limited to sexually active people or men who have sex with men.

“Anyone who is in close physical contact with an infectious person is at risk. Anyone with possible symptoms of monkeypox should seek immediate advice from a healthcare professional. That’s it. “

How worried should we be?

At this point, experts advise that the risk to the general public is low, but awareness is important in managing the outbreak.
Sylvie Briand, director of WHO’s Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness, said on Tuesday that the outbreak was “unusual” but “containable.”

“Let’s not build mountains from the mole hills,” she told the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

In Australia, Dr. Moi has now said that the general public does not need to panic.
“It’s a really medical issue that we have to be aware of, and hopefully as we get more information, we have a better idea of ​​what we need to do. Let’s do it, “he said.
“We all had a shell shock after COVID-19, but I don’t think we’re going to talk about that with monkeypox.”
Professor Blakey has already become commonplace with the COVID-19 pandemic, including maintaining physical distance, being alert to coughing and sneezing, wearing masks in crowded public places, and disinfecting hands. He said simple measures need to be taken.

He also said people should be aware that the virus can also spread by handling infected clothing and linen.

How about the vaccine?

According to WHO, the vaccine used in the smallpox eradication program also provides protection against monkeypox, but new vaccines have also been developed and approved for use against the virus.
WHO is working on new guidance for countries on immunization strategies and is holding further conferences to help member countries provide more advice on how to tackle the situation.
Some countries have already taken precautions to vaccinate people who may have been exposed to the virus.
France and Denmark have begun vaccination against close contact with the virus, but Germany has ordered 40,000 doses to prepare for a similar strategy if the outbreak in the country becomes more serious. rice field.
Dr. Moi said there is currently no monkeypox vaccination strategy in Australia, but will focus primarily on close contact if needed in the future.
Brett Sutton, Chief Health Officer of the Victorian dynasty, vaccinated a small percentage of front-line health workers on the national health stockpile and smallpox vaccine use on Saturday.
He said close contact with the virus would probably require quarantine. He said who would be considered a close contact and a time frame for quarantine would be determined.
The state health department requires that anyone who develops symptoms seek medical care, especially if they have recently traveled abroad or come into contact with a case.

With Reuters

What you know about the outbreak so far l SBS News

Source link What you know about the outbreak so far l SBS News

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