Health

Monkeypox: UNAIDS ‘worried’ about stigmatization of speech against LGBT people |

As of May 21, the World Health Organization (WHO) received 92 laboratory-confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases from 12 non-endemic countries.

Some cases have been identified in sexual health clinics and investigations are ongoing.

The disease can affect anyone

According to the WHO, available evidence suggests that those who have had close physical contact with the sick person are most at risk. monkeypoxand this risk is not limited to men who have sex with men.

UNAIDS urged the media, governments and communities to respond with a rights-based, evidence-based approach that avoids stigmatization.

“Stigma and blame undermine trust and the ability to respond effectively during outbreaks like this,” said Matthew Kavanagh, Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Experience shows that stigmatizing rhetoric can quickly undermine the evidence-based response, fueling cycles of fear, pushing people away from health services, hindering case-finding efforts, and encouraging ineffective punitive measures.”

Mr Kavanagh stressed that the agency thanks the LGBTI community for taking the lead in raising awareness of monkeypox and reiterated that disease can affect anyone.

“This outbreak highlights the urgent need for leaders to strengthen pandemic prevention, including building community capacity and advocacy infrastructure to support an effective and non-stigmatizing outbreak response,” he said.

The agency urged all media to cover monkeypox follow updates from the WHO.

© CDC/Cynthia S. Goldsmith

Monkeypox is a rare but dangerous infection similar to the now eradicated smallpox virus.

More cases expected

The UN health agency said over the weekend that as the situation evolves and surveillance expands, more cases of monkeypox are expected to be detected.

To date, all cases whose samples have been confirmed by PCR have been identified as infected with the West African clade.

The genome sequence from a swab sample from a confirmed case in Portugal showed a close match between the monkeypox virus that caused the current outbreak and cases imported from Nigeria to the UK, Israel and Singapore in 2018 and 2019.

The WHO said the identification of confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox without direct links to travel to endemic areas is a “highly unusual event”.


A young man shows his hands during an outbreak of monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  (file)

CDC

A young man shows his hands during an outbreak of monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (file)

About the disease

Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms very similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although clinically less severe.

There are two clades of monkeypox virus: the West African clade and the Congo Basin (Central African) clade.

The name Monkeypox comes from the original discovery of the virus in monkeys in a Danish laboratory in 1958. The first human case was identified in a child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970.

The monkeypox virus is spread from one person to another through close contact with lesions, bodily fluids, airborne droplets, and contaminated materials such as bedding. The incubation period for monkeypox is usually 6 to 13 days, but can vary from 5 to 21 days.


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