Don’t blame monkeys for monkeypox, WHO says after attacks

The World Health Organization said this week that monkeys are not to blame for the monkeypox outbreak that has triggered health warnings, including a national health emergency in the United States. as viral disease continues to spread, the World Health Organization said this week after reports of attacks on animals in Brazil.

At least 10 monkeys were rescued last week in São José do Rio Preto in the Brazilian state of São Paulo after authorities detected signs of being attacked or poisoned over fears of infecting the monkeys with smallpox. , according to G1 news site in that country. Seven monkeys later died.

Police in São Paulo are investigating those cases and say animal abuse carries a prison sentence of three months to a year.

Margaret Harris, a WHO spokeswoman, said the risk of smallpox transmission in monkeys during this outbreak was focused on humans, not animals. in a press conference on Tuesday.

“What people need to know very clearly is that the transmission we are seeing is happening between people,” she said. “It’s a near-contact transmission. Concerns should be about where it spreads in the population and what people can do to protect themselves from getting and transmitting it. They should definitely not attack any animals. “

The statement was prompted by a question at a press conference in Geneva about recent monkey attacks in Brazil.

The virus, named after a group of monkeys in a laboratory in Denmark, was originally found in a group of lab monkeys in Denmark, Harris said, but rodents are thought to be the main host of the virus.

Some scientists and public health officials have called a new name for the disease, citing racist and homophobic overtones, but no official changes have been announced. They say current name can have “potentially devastating and discriminatory effects” or falsely associated the virus only with the African continentwhen it was an international crisis.

Ms. Harris said WHO is having ongoing discussions about the appropriate name for this virus. She said that an announcement will come soon.

“Any stigma against anyone who is infected will increase transmission,” Ms. Harris said. “Because if people are scared to identify themselves as infected, then they won’t get care and they won’t take precautions and we’ll see more transmission.”

Monkey smallpox virus is Mainly found in Central and West Africa, especially in areas near tropical rainforests – and wire squirrels, tree squirrels, Gambian kangaroos and hibernation rats have all been identified as potential carriers.

Commonly ill people fever, headache, back and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion. One the rash looks like Pimples or blisters are also common. Transmission occurs through close physical contact and is most commonly spread when symptoms have already appeared, about six to 13 days after exposure. The majority of cases this year were young men, many of whom identified themselves as men having sex with men.

The United States declared a national health emergency this month due to an outbreak of smallpox in monkeys, with more than 10,000 confirmed cases nationwide according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WHO activated the highest alert level for monkeypox in July, with the number International confirmed cases rise to more than 31,000 hitherto.

Two vaccines originally developed for smallpox could help prevent smallpox infections in monkeys, and Jynneos is considered the safer choice. However, supplies in the United States are limited. People can be vaccinated after being exposed to the virus to prevent the development of the disease.

Juliana Barbassa contribution translation.

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