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Monkeypox latest news summary | 24 May 2022

Monkeypox is a viral disease that occurs mainly in central and western Africa.

Monkeypox outbreak: live updates

Monkeypox outbreak: headlines

- More than 250 confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox from 16 countries reports WHO

- WHO's Maria van Kerkhove describes monkeypox outbreak as "containable situation"

- Monkeypox outbreak will not lead to lockdowns, says expert

One confirmed case and four suspected cases in US, CDC says on Monday

- California health officials announce suspected case in Sacramento County

- US government orders $119 million of smallpox vaccine Jynneos does it protect against monkeypox?

- Moderna starts clinical trials on monkeypox vaccine

- UK's Health Security Agency confirms 14 more cases in England

- WHO doesn't see need for mass vaccination, isolation and contact tracing should suffice

Helpful information & links:

Monkeypox symptoms: fever, malaise, headache, and sometimes sore throat and cough, and lymphadenopathy.

- Everything you need to know about Monkeypox.

Mokeypox: How does it spread? Does it require sexual contact?

Related AS USA articles:

WHO update on monkeypox outbreak

Based on what is known about the monkeypox virus, which is a misnomer as the animals most susceptible are rodents, the outbreak can still be controlled reassures the WHO. "The risk to the general public therefore appears to be low."

As of 22 May, more than 250 confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox from 16 countries around the globe.

Hope for more resourcess as monkeypox spreads in non-endemic nations

Health officials say the current outbreak of monkeypox is highly unusual as there are no direct travel links to an endemic area. The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The virus is endemic in central and western Africa where outbreaks occur but get little attention. The current outbreak in nonendemic countries pales in comparasion to one in the Democratic Republic of Congo which has infected at least 1,238 cases and caused 57 deaths since January. 

The strain in that outbreak is has a fatality rate of around ten percent compared with around one percent of the strain behind the outbreak causing so much concern in Western nations. Genome sequencing of the strain getting all the media attention has indicated a close match to cases that were exported to the UK, Israel and Singapore in 2018 and 2019 meaning that it could have been moving undetected for some time in nonendemic countries.

“Maybe now that it’s happening over there, the problem will get more attention,” Yap Boum, a Cameroonian epidemiologist told the Washington Post, “and we will gain access to more vaccines, more treatments — all the things we did not have the money for.”

Suspected monkeypox case in California would be first for state

Health officials in Sacramento County, California released a statement on Tuesday that an area resident who had traveled abroad recently had tested positive for orthopox virus. Results from the CDC to verify if it is monkeypox are pending. 

In the meantime, the patient is receiving treatment and being kept in isolation. Health officials say the risk to the general public is low.

Moderna testing potential monkeypox vaccines

Moderna Inc is testing potential vaccines against monkeypox in pre-clinical trials as the disease spreads in the United States and Europe, Reuters reports.

Moderna did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for more details on the monkeypox vaccines.

On Monday, the CDC said the government was in the process of releasing doses of a smallpox vaccine Jynneos, made by Bavarian Nordic A/S, for use in monkeypox cases.

WaPo analysis: "No need to panic about monkeypox"

In her regular ‘The Health 202’ newsletter for the Washington Post, reporter Rachel Roubein has declared that there is “no need to panic about monkeypox”.

For one, monkeypox isn’t a new virus,” Roubein writes. “The disease was first discovered in 1958 in monkeys kept for research, and the first human case was recorded a dozen years later in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the CDC.

“Scientists have studied its patterns for decades. There are already vaccines and treatments that can be used against the virus. It’s a highly visible disease since it leads to a rash, making detection and contact tracing easier. 

“And notably, it’s harder to infect another person.”

Read Rachel Roubein’s analysis in full

UAE reports first monkeypox case

The United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has reported the country’s first case of monkeypox, the state news agency WAM says.

The patient is a 29-year-old woman who has recently returned to the UAE from west Africa, WAM added.

Where in the US are the country's confirmed, suspected monkeypox cases?

As well as the one confirmed case in the US - a man in Massachusetts who had recently travelled to Canada - the CDC said on Monday that there are four suspected cases in other areas of the US.

The four patients, who the CDC confirmed “are all men”, have all tested positive for an orthopoxvirus, the genus of viruses to which monkeypox belongs, Dr Jennifer McQuiston told a media briefing on Monday. “Specimens are still being sent to CDC for monkeypox confirmatory testing, but we’re presuming these are monkeypox,” Dr McQuiston said.

“In addition to the monkeypox case confirmed in Massachusetts, we have an orthopox confirmed case in New York City, we have one in Florida, and we have two in Utah.”

“The confirmed orthopox cases that we have had reported in the United States have reported a history of international travel. To date, the cases that have been reported to the CDC are travel-associated, outside the US.”

Monkeypox symptoms photo

Explainer: what are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Per the CDC, sufferers of monkeypox initially experience:

- fever

- headache

- muscle aches

- backache

- swollen lymph nodes

- chills

- exhaustion

Following a period usually lasting one to three days, sufferers then develop a rash. This tends to spread from the face to elsewhere on the body.

The rash “evolves sequentially from macules (lesions with a flat base) to papules (slightly raised firm lesions), vesicles (lesions filled with clear fluid), pustules (lesions filled with yellowish fluid), and crusts which dry up and fall off”, the WHO says.

Monkeypox tends to last for about two to four weeks. "In Africa, monkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 persons who contract the disease," the CDC says.

(Photo: CDC/Brian W.J. Mahy/Handout via REUTERS)

See also: What are the early symptoms of monkeypox?

Explainer: what is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral disease that was first identified in laboratory monkeys in 1958 - hence its name. The first human case of monkeypox was reported in 1970, in DR Congo.

Monkeypox occurs chiefly in west and central African countries, and has symptoms “similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox”, according to the CDC.

The WHO says monkeypox is chiefly transmitted “from direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected animals”.

The organisation adds that transmission of monkeypox between humans as “relatively limited”, noting that the longest documented chain of person-to-person transmission is six people.

[Human-to-human] infection can result from close contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or recently contaminated objects,” the WHO says.

“Transmission via droplet respiratory particles usually requires prolonged face-to-face contact, which puts health workers and household members of active cases at greater risk.”

"Over 200" contacts being tracked in US confirmed case

Health officials in Massachusetts are tracking more than 200 people who came into contact with the patient suffering from the only confirmed US case of monkeypox, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said.

In a media briefing on Monday, the CDC’s Dr Jennifer McQuiston told reporters: “The Massachusetts Department of Health is the entity that’s doing the primary work with the patient and doing the contact-tracing investigation.

They have shared with us that they’re tracking over 200 contacts, but the vast majority of them are healthcare workers […]. There are also some personal contacts.”

Massachusetts’ health service confirmed the case last week, noting that the man had recently travelled to Canada. In a statement, the body added that the case “poses no risk to the general public”.

Fourteen more monkeypox cases confirmed in England

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced 14 further cases of monkeypox in England, taking the country’s total number of confirmed infections since 7 May to 70.

The UK total now stands at 71, as a case was also confirmed in Scotland on Monday.

Dr Susan Hopkins, the UKHSA’s chief medical adviser, said: “We are continuing to promptly identify further monkeypox cases in England through our extensive surveillance and contact tracing networks, our vigilant NHS services and thanks to people coming forward with symptoms.

“If anyone suspects they might have rashes or lesions on any part of their body, particularly if they have recently had a new sexual partner, they should limit their contact with others and contact NHS 111 or their local sexual health service as soon as possible – though please phone ahead before attending in person.”


Dashboard tracks monkeypox cases

An Italian management engineer has created a dashboard with the latest numbers of confirmed and suspected monkeypox cases around the world.

The tool created by Antonio Caramia also provides data such as hospitalizations and reported symptoms.

Take a look at the dashboard

Czech Republic detects its first case of monkeypox

The Czech Republic confirmed its first case of monkeypox on Tuesday, the head of the Czech Infectious Medicine Society (SIL) said.

"Today, a case was confirmed by a laboratory," SIL chairman Pavel Dlouhy told Reuters, confirming a report by news website Seznam Zpravy.

Dlouhy said the patient was being treated at the Central Military Hospital in Prague, but he did not give further details.

Test tubes labelled "Monkeypox virus positive" are seen in this illustration taken May 22, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Germany orders 40,000 vaccine doses as precaution against monkeypox spread

Germany has ordered 40,000 doses of a Bavarian Nordic vaccine to be ready to vaccinate contacts of those infected with monkeypox if an outbreak in Germany becomes more severe, but officials are banking on other precautionary measures for now.

Speaking at a press conference, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Tuesday that measures such as an isolation period of at least 21 days recommended for infected people would suffice for now to contain the outbreak.

"If infections spread further we will want to be prepared for possible ring vaccinations that are not yet recommended at this point but might become necessary," said Lauterbach, referring to the strategy of vaccinating contacts of an infected person.

He said the outbreak of monkeypox could be contained and did not signal the start of a new pandemic, adding that early intervention can prevent the pathogen from becoming firmly established in communities.

Test tubes labelled "Monkeypox virus positive" are seen in this illustration taken May 23, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

French health authority recommends targeted monkeypox vaccinations

France's HAS health authority said on Tuesday it recommended starting a targeted vaccination campaign to fight monkeypox.

The HAS said it recommended that as soon as a confirmed case of monkeypox has been discovered, a vaccination should be given to adults who have been in contact with the patient and who are considered to be at risk.

Health staff who have been exposed to the patient without individual protection should also receive a jab, the HAS added.

WHO confirms 131 cases outside Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday there have been 131 confirmed monkeypox cases and 106 further suspected cases since the first was reported on May 7 outside the countries where it usually spreads.

While the outbreak is unusual, it remains "containable" and limited, the WHO said, and it is convening further meetings to support member states with more advice on how to tackle the situation.

Monkeypox is a usually mild viral infection that is endemic in parts of west and central Africa. It spreads chiefly through close contact, and until the recent outbreak has only rarely  been seen in other parts of the world. The majority of the recent cases have been reported in Europe.

"We encourage you all to increase the surveillance of monkeypox to see where transmission levels are and understand where it is going," said Sylvie Briand, WHO director for Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness.

Slovenia reports first case of monkeypox infection

Slovenia on Tuesday reported its first case of monkeypox infection in a traveller who had returned from the Canary Islands in Spain, Slovenian N1 television reported.

The man was reportedly not hospitalised because he was infected by a mild version of the viral disease.


Biden: Monkeypox not at same level of concern as covid-19

President Joe Biden on Monday offered a more reassuring message on the monkeypox outbreak, having on Sunday said it is something “everybody should be concerned about”.

"We have had this monkeypox in large numbers in the past,” Biden told reporters in Tokyo. “We have vaccines to take care of it.

“I just don't think it rises to the level of the kind of concern that existed with covid-19."

U.S. health officials releasing some Jynneos vaccine doses for monkeypox -CDC

U.S. health officials are in the process of releasing some Jynneos vaccine doses for use in monkeypox cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Monday.

CDC officials said there are more than 1,000 doses of the vaccine, approved in the United States in 2019, in the national stockpile and they expect that level to ramp up very quickly in the coming weeks.

Test tubes labelled "Monkeypox virus positive" are seen in this illustration taken May 22, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

WHO official: no immediate need for mass monkeypox vaccinations

The World Health Organization does not believe the outbreak of monkeypox in Europe and North America requires mass vaccinations as measures like good hygiene and safe sexual behaviour will help control its spread, a senior official said on Monday.

In an interview with Reuters, Richard Pebody, who leads the high-threat pathogen team at WHO Europe, also said immediate supplies of vaccines are relatively limited.

The primary measures to control the outbreak are contact tracing and isolation, he said.

Public health authorities in Europe and North America are investigating over 100 suspected and confirmed cases of the viral infection in the worst outbreak of the virus outside of Africa. It has been endemic in Africa for decades.


UK Health Security Agency says it has detected 36 more cases of monkeypox

The UK Health Security Agency said on Monday that it had detected 36 additional cases of monkeypox in England, taking the total number of confirmed cases since May 7 to 56.

Third possible case of monkeypox found in the U.S

Health authorities said they may have found a third case of the monkeypox virus in the United States and are running tests on a patient in South Florida to confirm if the person has contracted the disease, which is staging a rare outbreak outside of Africa. The case in Broward County, Florida, is "related to international travel," the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Florida Department of Health said in a statement on Sunday, "and the person remains isolated."

WHO says no evidence of monkeypox virus mutation

At a briefing on Monday, a senior executive at the World Health Organization said there is no evidence that the monkeypox virus has mutated. Rosamund Lewis, head of the smallpox secretariat that is part of the WHO Emergencies Program, told press that the infectious disease that has been endemic in west and central Africa mutations generally doesn't change.

However, the UN agency is performing genome sequencing of cases which will help inform understanding of the current outbreak. Health experts are being vigilant for worrisome mutations that could make a virus more easily transmissible or severe.

Transmission of monkeypox can happen close person-to-person contact,as well as contact with items used by a person who is infected, such as clothes, bedding or utensils. But monkeypox does not usually spread easily between people.

Monkeypox outbreak, live updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our live blog for Tuesday 24 May on the outbreak of monkeypox, with an increasing amount of confirmed or suspected cases being reported across the many parts of Europe including United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal. One case has also been confirmed in the USA along with four suspected according to the CDC.