The World Health Organization on Tuesday said that the outbreak of monkeypox is containable with more countries launching vaccinations to prevent the spread of the infection, Reuters reported.
Monkeypox is a rare infection that is mainly spread by rodents and primates in parts of West and Central Africa, according to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. The disease usually causes a mild illness and can result in symptoms such as high temperature, headache, backache and a chickenpox-like rash.
The WHO has confirmed 131 cases and 106 more patients are suspected to have contracted the infection till Tuesday, since the first case was reported on May 7 outside the African countries where the disease is usually prevalent.
Sylvie Briand, a director at the WHO for Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness said that the outbreak was not normal. However, she emphasised that it can be contained.
“We encourage you all to increase the surveillance of monkeypox to see where transmission levels are and understand where it is going,” she said at the World Health Assembly in Geneva.
Briand said that vaccines and treatments were available for the infection, Reuters reported. She also urged countries to follow appropriate containment measures, conduct more research and collaborate on a global level to fight the disease.
“Let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill,” Briand said, adding that the WHO will soon roll out guidelines on vaccination strategies.
France and Denmark have already recommended vaccination for persons who have come in close contact with those infected.
A Danish company called Bavarian Nordic has made Imvanex, the only approved vaccine for monkeypox. Germany has ordered 40,000 vials of the vaccine in case the outbreak becomes severe, according to Reuters. The United States is also preparing to administer doses of the Imvanex vaccine under the brand name Jynneos.
Last week, the United Kingdom offered smallpox vaccines for healthcare workers and others who had been in close contact with monkeypox patients.