EU health body says risk of spread is ‘low’, recommends monkeypox tracing

Copenhagen/Tokyo/Geneva, May 23 (EFE).- The European Center for Disease Control recommended Monday that EU member states focus on the rapid identification and contact tracing for monkeypox cases but said there was a “very low” risk of a wider spread of the virus.

Some 85 monkeypox cases have been reported in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden between May 15 and 23, according to figures issued by the ECDC.

“Human-to-human transmission occurs through close contact with infectious material from skin lesions of an infected person, through respiratory droplets in prolonged face-to-face contact, and through fomites,” ECDC explained.

“Most of the current cases have presented with mild disease symptoms, and for the broader population, the likelihood of spread is very low,” ECDC director Andrea said in a statement.

Infected people should remain isolated until the scabs have fallen off and avoid close contact with immunosuppressed people and pets, as well as abstain from sexual activity, the ECDC said.

According to ECDC, monkeypox can cause “severe disease” among certain groups, such as children, pregnant women, and immunosuppressed people.

United States president Joe Biden on Monday downplayed the dangers posed by virus, and that the US was fully prepared to deal with the virus.

“I just don’t think it rises to the level of the kind of concern that existed with Covid-19,” he said in a press conference during his official trip to Tokyo.

Biden added that the US has enough vaccines to “deal with the likelihood of a problem.”

Maria Van Kerkhove of the World Health Organization said Monday that it was “a containable situation”, and that “transmission is really happening from skin-to-skin contact, most of the people who have been identified have more of a mild disease.”

On Sunday, the WHO warned that cases would keep emerging.

“The situation is evolving and WHO expects there will be more cases of monkeypox identified as surveillance expands in non-endemic countries,” WHO said.

“Immediate actions focus on informing those who may be most at risk for monkeypox infection with accurate information, in order to stop further spread.”

The monkeypox virus usually causes symptoms such as rash, fever and pustules. EFE


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