PAHO on alert due to increase in cases of monkeypox in the Americas

PAHO on alert due to increase in cases of monkeypox in the Americas

The Pan American Health Organization alerted the countries of the region regarding an increase in cases of monkeypox, however, it stressed that the risk of contagion and mortality is low compared to COVID-19.

In Press conference, Carissa Etiennedirector of the agency, described as “unusual” the appearance of monkeypox in several non-endemic countries and therefore, “I have activated PAHO’s special emergency procedures to help member states” with surveillance, investigation of cases, clinical management, laboratory tests, and infection prevention and control.

The latest outbreak of monkeypox “deserves attention,” and public health experts are conducting research to better understand how this disease spreads, Etienne said. The United States and Mexico have already confirmed cases.

Related news: Nicaragua, under epidemiological surveillance for monkeypox

In addition, he indicated that “from what we know about this virus and its transmission, we should be able to contain this outbreak.”

The director of the PAHO Department of Communicable Diseases, Marcos Espinal, clarified that “we cannot say” that monkeypox is going to spread as has happened with COVID-19, which has caused a high mortality rate.

“Smallpox is direct contact, the risk is usually low, because it is not a new disease, it is a disease that has existed in places like Africa where there are natural reservoirs,” he explained.

The expert pointed out that he does not recommend mass vaccination and priority should be given to health workers, laboratory personnel and citizens who have had contact with the infected person.

“Massive vaccinations, such as COVID for example, are not recommended, since the main ones are health workers and very close contacts at some point, who are exposed to the virus”; she said.

PAHO Press Conference on COVID-19 -June 1, 2022 – SPANISH AUDIO – YouTube

PAHO assigned an incident manager and an entire team to manage monkeypox in the region. “The group will be in charge of representing PAHO corporately to advise the countries, with pillars in the response and preparation for the disease,” Espinal explained.

Likewise, the organization is working to provide the region’s laboratories with the key reagents to carry out molecular tests that help with the early detection of monkeypox cases, which will allow the isolation of those infected and the tracing of the people with whom they interact. had contact, a primary factor in curbing the spread of the disease.

“The fact that the risk to the general public remains low at this time, we must always be vigilant and vigilant,” said the PAHO director.

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