Monkeypox spreads in West, baffling African scientists

Olde Hornet

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Monkeypox spreads in West, baffling African scientists​

LONDON (AP) — As more cases of monkeypox are detected in Europe and North America, some scientists who have monitored numerous outbreaks in Africa say they are baffled by the unusual disease's spread in the West.

Cases of the smallpox-related disease haven’t previously been seen among people with no links to central and West Africa. But in the past week, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, U.S., Sweden and Canada all reported infections, mostly in young men who hadn’t previously traveled to Africa.

France, Germany, Belgium and Australia confirmed their first cases of monkeypox on Friday.
“I’m stunned by this. Every day I wake up and there are more countries infected,” said Oyewale Tomori, a virologist who formerly headed the Nigerian Academy of Science and who sits on several World Health Organization advisory boards.

“This is not the kind of spread we’ve seen in West Africa, so there may be something new happening in the West,” he said.
One of the theories British health officials are exploring is whether the disease is being sexually transmitted. Health officials have asked doctors and nurses to be on alert for potential cases, but said the risk to the general population is low.

Outbreaks in Nigeria, which reports about 3,000 monkeypox cases a year, are usually in rural areas, where people have close contact with infected rats and squirrels, according to Tomori. He said the disease is not spread very easily and that many cases are likely missed.

Olde Hornet

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Biden on monkeypox: 'Everybody' should be concerned, spread would be 'consequential'​

“They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,” Biden told reporters before boarding Air Force One to fly from South Korea to Japan. “We’re working on it hard to figure out what we do and what vaccine, if any, might be available for it.”

Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security adviser, later told reporters the U.S. has vaccines "available to be deployed."

Sullivan said Biden is getting regular updates from his health team about the evolving situation.

Nearly a dozen countries are investigating "atypical" outbreaks of monkeypox, a disease that comes from the same family of viruses as smallpox and is typically found in central and west Africa.