WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made comments On Wednesday, during a press conference, he said that 98 percent of monkeypox cases were reported in men who have sex with men.
“This is an outbreak that can be stopped” as long as governments take appropriate measures and individuals stay informed and protect themselves from the virus, Tedros said.
“For MSM, this includes, for the time being, reducing the number of your sexual partners, reconsidering sex with new partners, and exchanging contact details with any new partners to enable follow-up if necessary,” Tedros said.
Ago Monkeypox outbreak First reported by the World Health Organization in May, public health officials have sought to balance the need to communicate with the community that suffers the bulk of transmission – MSM, including gay and bisexual men – And the desire not to Stigmatize members of this community Or give the impression that monkeypox exclusively affects men who have sex with men.
“Anyone who has been exposed to monkeypox can,” Tedros said Wednesday, urging countries to “reduce the risk of transmission to other vulnerable groups,” including children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.
However, as it has become clear that monkeypox is predominantly spread among men who have sex with men, calls have increased for health agencies and governments to make more specific communication with members of this community.
Monkeypox is mainly spread Through close physical contact between humans, although it can also be transmitted by a pregnant woman to her fetus through the placenta, and when a person touches contaminated clothing and other objects, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms of monkeypox infection include fever, muscle aches, and a rash or smallpox-like blisters.
More than 18,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported to the World Health Organization from 78 countries, although the bulk of cases are in Europe, the epicenter of the outbreak. The World Health Organization said five of those cases resulted in death.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Thursday that officials have not made a decision yet Whether a public health emergency will be declared In the United States, saying that monkeypox has not yet become such a formidable threat Corona Virus. He reiterated that officials believe they can still “end the outbreak” in the United States through vaccines, testing and a coordinated response with local leaders.
Besera also announced that health officials will begin distributing 786,000 additional doses of the vaccine to state and local officials in the next few weeks. Federal regulators earlier this week We finished filtering those potions, which has been postponed for review in Denmark for more than a month. Delay Complaints paid From local officials and patient advocates who said more vaccine is urgently needed. US officials have already distributed about 330,000 doses of the vaccine.
For its part, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern” – the highest level of threat – during the WeekendAfter the emergency committee convened by the World Health Organization, Dropped once in the last month To recommend that the World Health Organization take this step.
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros, said Saturday that he made the last call after panel members remained divided over whether the declaration of high alert was justified. One reason for the hesitation was the lack of evidence that monkeypox was spreading in the wider population.
Although monkeypox was mostly spread among men who have sex with men in this outbreak, it has spread endemic For decades outside this community in West and Central African countries. as such The Washington Post reportedExperts believe the recent outbreak could have spread first through gay social networks and at sites frequented by men who have sex with men, including European saunas and festivals.
The outbreak of monkeypox has been highlighted Disparities in access to health care For gay and bisexual men in the United States, where there are not enough vaccines and providers are able to administer antiviral treatments to help all those seeking to protect themselves from infection.
As the country’s health care system scrambles to respond, many experts are considering the public health response to The AIDS epidemic in the 1980swhen gay men were the scapegoats and died in droves of disease when effective treatments were not yet available.
Matthew Kavanagh, Deputy Executive Director of Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, said, said in May He also called for caution in monkeypox messages.
The CDC, in its guidance on monkeypox public health messages for gay and bisexual men, said, “It is important to reach any community disproportionately affected by non-disturbing, fact-based messages about monkeypox that provide people with tools they can use to protect themselves. and others.”
Tedros – Looks like his recommendations are on Wednesday More specific than previous WHO guidance – He said that any effective response to the outbreak must empower “MSM communities to reduce the risk of infection and subsequent transmission.” But he said the response should be crafted in ways that “preserve human rights and dignity”.
“Stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus and can fuel outbreaks,” he added.
Vineet Nirapil contributed to this report.
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