WHO says monkeypox containable, but nations should be on alert

More than 20 countries have logged a combined total of more than 300 monkeypox cases, a development that a World Health Organization (WHO) official deemed "unusual."

"We normally have only a handful of cases exported to non-endemic countries," said Sylvie Briand, MD, PhD, MPH, the WHO director for Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness, during a press briefing in Geneva today. "We have unknowns about origin of sudden outbreaks in non-endemic countries."

Briand said WHO investigators do not believe the virus has changed substantially from the endemic clade seen in West Africa. Instead, she said a change in human behavior was probably at play.

"This is not a disease the public should be worried about; this is not COVID," Briand said, before explaining the WHO believes partner countries will be able to contain the spread of monkeypox through rigorous contact tracing.

"We must make sure we all know the risk in front of us." she said.

Mass General staff to be administered Jynneos

Massachusetts General Hospital became the first facility in the United States to vaccinate health workers exposed to monkeypox (outside of clinical trials) with Jynneos, Bavarian Nordic's monkeypox vaccine.

Fewer than 10 healthcare workers deemed high or moderate risk for contracting monkeypox received the vaccine. Last week, Massachusetts confirmed the first case of monkeypox in the United States in the current outbreak, in a man who had recently traveled to Canada.

The vaccine requires two doses, administered 4 weeks apart.

Today Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published recommendations on the use of Jynneos as preexposure protection for those exposed to orthopoxviruses at work, including booster doses.

"Persons who received the 2-dose Jynneos primary series and who are at ongoing risk for occupational exposure to more virulent orthopoxvirus e.g., Variola virus and Monkeypox virus, should receive a booster dose of Jynneos every 2 years after the primary Jynneos series," they wrote.

More cases detected in UK

Today the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it has detected 16 additional cases of monkeypox in England, bringing the UK total to 106. The first case was detected on May 7.

Spain has an additional 25 cases, bringing the national total to 84. Another 73 cases are suspected. Neighboring Portugal has confirmed 58 cases. Most cases are in men who have sex with men.

In Canada, there are now 26 confirmed cases (26 in Quebec, 1 in Ontario).

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