A pharmacist, removes a tray of vials of the Jynneos vaccine for monkeypox in the vaccine hub at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on July 29, 2022.
Cases of monkeypox have now been recorded in more than 80 countries worldwide and while mortality remains low, health professionals have warned against complacency.
“This is a serious infection and it is important to try to bring it under control,” Jimmy Whitworth, Professor of International Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, stressed.
“There have been cases reported in this outbreak now in children and again, that is worrying for two reasons: one is that we believe that children under eight are at high risk of getting serious disease if they get infected; but also, the challenges of controlling close contact between children is a challenge and it’s a different challenge to trying to control close contact between adults,” he added.
The outbreak, which has claimed the lives of at least 10 people worldwide with more than 25,000 infections confirmed, was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation.
While many cases have been reported among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, the UN agency has emphasised that the risk of contracting monkeypox is not limited to men who have sex with men and that anyone who has close contact with someone who is infectious is at risk.
For Whitworth, “there is a need, I think, to try to minimise that stigma as much as possible if we want to control this. Otherwise, transmission is going to be driven underground and we will be in a worse situation than we are at the moment.”
The expert urged anyone who is offered the vaccine to take it in order to curb transmission.