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29 Nov 2022

Monkeypox given new name by World Health Organization

The new name is “mpox” - a move to try and combat racism and stigmatising language associated with the infection.

Several months after community transmission of Monkeypox in non-endemic countries was established, the World Health Organisation has declared that the continuing spread of Monkeypox is now a public health emergency of international concern.
From a World Health Organisation perspective, that’s as serious as things get. It’s a big deal. The last time that the WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern – a PHEIC – was for the outbreak of Covid-19.
A PHEIC is defined by WHO as a public health risk that potentially requires a coordinated international response.
Based on the WHO’s current assessment, the risk globally is assessed as “moderate” while in Europe that risk is “high”.
The current data from WHO indicates over 16K confirmed monkeypox cases, spread across 75 countries. There have been five deaths recorded in connection to this current outbreak. Currently, most cases are in Europe.
As we have seen from the beginning of this outbreak, the WHO has confirmed that the majority of cases continues to be detected within men who have sex with men. Monkeypox is not a Sexually Transmitted Infection but it is spread by close or intimate contact and sex is a really effective way for Monkeypox to spread. There’s nothing about Monkeypox that limits it to men who have sex with men, it’s just that we’re the demographic that it’s made initial contact with.
The general consensus is that health agencies in countries such as the UK – which is pretty much the epicentre of this outbreak – has been slow. It now seems to be accepted that a vaccination programme is going to be the most effective way to navigate this outbreak. Availability of vaccines has been limited but is now ramping up.
Stay in touch with your local sexual health service and get vaccinated when a vaccine is available to you.
What is Monkeypox?
The name “monkeypox” comes from the first documented cases of the illness, in 1958, when two outbreaks occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research.
But monkeys aren’t major carriers. Instead, the virus is generally spread by squirrels, pouched rats, dormice or another rodent.
How do you catch Monkeypox?
Primarily, from an animal bite, scratch or contact with the animal’s bodily fluid. Then the virus can spread to other people through coughing and sneezing or contact with pus from the lesions.
Symptoms are likely to appear somewhere between 5-21 days after exposure to the virus.
The lesions from monkeypox are similar to those from a smallpox infection.
It’s previously been thought that transmission of Monkeypox between people was a very low risk but this current outbreak appears to be spreading very effectively between people.
Health experts are speculating that the end of vaccination programs against Smallpox has left us vulnerable to a Monkeypox outbreak.
How dangerous is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox can be a nasty illness – it causes fever, body aches, enlarged lymph nodes and, eventually, painful, fluid-filled blisters on the face, hands and feet. One version of monkeypox is quite deadly and kills up to 10% of people infected. The version currently being detected from this cluster is milder. Its fatality rate is less than 1%. A case generally resolves in two to four weeks.
If you have it, you’ll probably need to isolate at home until you’ve recovered.
What should I do if I think I might have been exposed to Monkeypox?
If you notice any unusual rashes or lesions, and you think you might have been exposed to the virus through sexual contact, then contact your local sexual health service for advice.

The World Health Organization has announced monkeypox will be renamed “mpox” due to reports of  racism and stigmatising language.

The health agency has said that both monkeypox and mpox would be used for the next year, while the former name is “phased out”.

The WHO began consulting experts about renaming the disease in August, after United Nations officials condemned reports on the recent outbreak of the disease as “racist and homophobic”.

WHO said the virus was first named “monkeypox” in 1958 when monkeys in a Danish laboratory were observed to have a ‘pox-like’ disease. The organisation said this was “before current best practices in naming diseases and viruses were adopted”. 

The organisation said: “When the outbreak of monkeypox expanded earlier this year, racist and stigmatising language online, in other settings and in some communities was observed and reported to WHO.

“In several meetings, public and private, a number of individuals and countries raised concerns and asked WHO to propose a way forward to change the name.”

The latest data from the CDC has found that 80,850 cases of mpox and 55 deaths have been recorded worldwide in the current outbreak of the disease.

What is Monkeypox?

The name “monkeypox” comes from the first documented cases of the illness, in 1958, when two outbreaks occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research.

But monkeys aren’t major carriers. Instead, the virus is generally spread by squirrels, pouched rats, dormice or another rodent.

How do you catch Monkeypox?

The previous strains of Monkeypox that have been identified have been transmitted through contact with an animal that is carrying the virus - a scratch or a bite would be the most likely cause of someone acquiring Monkeypox. It could then spread to other people through coughing, sneezing, or contact with lesions.

The strain that is driving this current outbreak seems to be very effective at person-to-person transmission. It was clear that a sexual encounter was a highly effective way for the virus to spread - because of the amount of skin contact and body sweat - but evidence now also suggests that the virus could be transmitting as a form of STI.

Symptoms are likely to appear somewhere between 5-21 days after exposure to the virus.

The lesions from monkeypox are similar to those from a smallpox infection.

Health experts are speculating that the end of vaccination programs against Smallpox has left us vulnerable to a Monkeypox outbreak.

How dangerous is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox can be a nasty illness – it causes fever, body aches, enlarged lymph nodes and, eventually, painful, fluid-filled blisters on the face, hands and feet. One version of monkeypox is quite deadly and kills up to 10% of people infected. The version currently being detected from this cluster is milder. Its fatality rate is less than 1%. A case generally resolves in two to four weeks.

If you have it, you’ll probably need to isolate at home until you’ve recovered.

What should I do if I think I might have been exposed to Monkeypox?

If you notice any unusual rashes or lesions, and you think you might have been exposed to the virus through sexual contact, then contact your local sexual health service for advice.

讀者回應

1. 2022-12-01 00:31  
This is a bad disease...
2. 2022-12-01 12:36  
So stupid. The disease came from monkeys. If the discredited WHO elevates monkeys to equal to humans, then they are the racists.

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