W.H.O. Warns Monkeypox Could Have Been Spreading Undetected

In this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention handout graphic, symptoms of one of the
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The sudden spike in Monkeypox cases suggests that the virus has been spreading undetected, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

CNBC reports:

The virus may have been transmitted for months or years undetected though investigations are ongoing and there are clear no answers yet, according to Dr. Rosamund Lewis, the WHO’s monkeypox technical lead. […] Tedros said most of the cases have been reported by men who sought care at sexual health clinics after they’ve had sex with other men and developed symptoms.

To date, WHO has confirmed over 550 monkeypox cases in 30 countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tracking 18 confirmed cases across nine U.S. states. The virus was first confirmed in the U.S. in Massachusetts in May.

“We don’t really know whether it’s too late to contain. What WHO and all member states are trying to do is prevent onward spread,” Lewis told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday.

“The WHO is not recommending mass vaccination. There is no need for mass vaccination,” Lewis added.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Pfizer board member and former FDA Commissioner, said recently that the rise in Monkeypox cases indicates the virus has spread “pretty wide,” but predicted that it will not evolve into an epidemic akin to the coronavirus.

“Now that there’s been community spread, it may be hard to snuff this out. I don’t think it will become a major epidemic because this is a virus that’s difficult to spread. You need sustained close contact or sustain contact with the open source, but there’s so many cases now that are disconnected,” Gottlieb told CNBC. “This is spreading in the community and there may be a lot more inflection than what we’re picking up. It has a long incubation period, upwards of 21 days. So there may be a lot of people incubating the virus and there’s probably a lot of people who went undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because doctors aren’t looking for it. And given the fact we found so many disconnected cases, it does suggest the spread is pretty wide.”


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