Monkeypox Adds To ‘Formidable’ Challenges To The World, WHO Says
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The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said monkeypox adds to the 'formidable' challenges facing the world.
The WHO has confirmed there are currently 92 cases of monkeypox around the world, while another 28 are suspected.
There has been 20 confirmed cases in the UK, the UKHSA have said.
Countries that have so far been affected include the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and at least nine EU nations.
Addressing the UN’s World Health Assembly in Geneva, head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, dubbed monkeypox as a 'formidable' challenge to the world, while mentioning it in the same breath as the coronavirus pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine.
Ghebreyesus went on to warn the global community of a 'formidable convergence' of disease and other natural calamities caused by the climate crisis and politics. "We face a formidable convergence of disease, drought, famine and war, fuelled by climate change, inequity and geopolitical rivalry," he said.
However, UK minister Simon Clarke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said monkeypox isn't 'some repeat of Covid'.
He said: "As with any new disease, and obviously after the Covid pandemic doubly so, we continue to monitor this very closely.
"I would say I am cautious but I am certainly not concerned about our ability to handle the situation.
"There is a vaccine which is available and works for monkeypox, and all the evidence is that it is spread by physical contact."
He added: "What I would say is we are cautious but we are certainly not in a position where I would in anyway worry the public that this is some repeat of Covid, because it certainly does not appear to be anywhere near the same platform of seriousness."
With regards to how people can catch the infection, UKHSA say that household contact, sexual contact, or having changed an infected person’s bedding without wearing appropriate PPE are all ways someone might have contract monkeypox.
Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for UKHSA, told BBC One’s Sunday Morning: "We are detecting more cases on a daily basis and I’d like to thank all of those people who are coming forward for testing to sexual health clinics, to the GPs and emergency department."
Asked if there is community transmission in the UK, she said: "Absolutely, we are finding cases that have no identified contact with an individual from west Africa, which is what we’ve seen previously in this country."
Quizzed on why it is being found in the male demographic, she added: “That’s because of the frequent close contacts they may have.
"We would recommend to anyone who is having changes in sex partners regularly, or having close contact with individuals that they don’t know, to come forward if they develop a rash."
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