Sydney, Australia, Jul 28 (EFE).- Australian health authorities declared monkeypox on Thursday a “communicable disease incident of national importance,” after accumulating 44 infections in the oceanic country, most of them in travelers who returned from abroad.
The declaration, announced Thursday by Australian Government Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, opens the door for the deployment of resources to combat the disease in the most affected jurisdictions, as well as other measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Kelly stressed in a statement that monkeypox “is much less harmful than Covid-19 and no deaths have been recorded during the current outbreak outside of countries where the virus is endemic.”
To date, more than 18,000 cases of monkeypox have been recorded in the world, according to the World Health Organization.
Spain is for now the country that has reported the most cases (3,595, a fifth of the total), followed by the United States (2,881), Germany (2,410), the United Kingdom (2,208) and France (1,567), while in Australia the infections are still small.
Seventy percent of the cases are concentrated in Europe, and 25 percent in the United States, where there are also significant numbers of infections in Brazil (696), Canada (681), Peru (203) and Mexico (59.)
The WHO declared an international health emergency Saturday over the current outbreak of monkeypox, although the organization’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Wednesday it can be stopped “if its risks are taken seriously and steps are taken necessary to stop its transmission.”
He said that, in addition to sexual contact, monkeypox can be spread by mere physical contact, “including hugging, kissing, or using contaminated towels or bedding,” and added that three vaccines are currently being considered to prevent the virus outbreak.EFE