Beijing responds to monkeypox

China released its first diagnosis and treatment guidelines for monkeypox on June 15, 2022. The Chinese government said the virus can be spread through close contact and via droplets, and said most patients can recover without special treatment.

The directive was issued by the National Health Commission as the number of infectious diseases is increasing worldwide and experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) are debating whether or not to declare an outbreak of a public health emergency of international concern.

According to the World Health Organization, Monkeypox is an emerging infectious disease caused by a virus transmitted by infected animals, most commonly rodents. It can then spread from person to person, but person-to-person transmission alone cannot sustain an outbreak.

Smallpox was eradicated worldwide in 1980. However, monkeypox still occurs sporadically in parts of central and west Africa near tropical rainforests, the WHO said.

According to Chinese policy, monkeypox virus is mainly transmitted through close contact with an infected person, and can be spread through airborne infection or contact with contaminated material. It can also be transmitted between mother and child during pregnancy or childbirth.

The disease is often self-limiting, but severe cases can occur in young children or people with compromised immune systems. The mortality rate for the West African strain is 3%, while for the Congo Basin variant it can be as high as 10%.

“The incubation period for monkeypox is between 5 and 21 days. Suspected and confirmed cases should be admitted to isolation units, but no treatment that directly targets the disease is currently available.”it says in the directive.

“Local health authorities should organize monkeypox training and improve capacity to quickly identify, report, isolate and treat cases.”said the National Health Commission.

The WHO said at a news conference on Tuesday that it had received reports of 1,600 confirmed cases and 1,500 suspected cases of monkeypox from 39 countries this year. Among them, 32 countries are newly affected by the virus and the strain detected there is the least deadly West African variant.

“The global outbreak of monkeypox is clearly unusual and worrisome,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The latter explained that “It is for this reason that I have decided to convene the emergency committee next week […] to assess whether this outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.”

Rosamund Lewis, a monkeypox specialist at WHO, said WHO is establishing a mechanism to roll out smallpox vaccines – a disease closely related to monkeypox – to countries that need them.

The WHO does not currently recommend mass vaccinations. On his side, China has not yet reported any cases of monkeypox, but domestic researchers have started to increase testing capacities.

Xu Wenbo, head of the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention at the China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), said the institute has developed a PCR test technology that targets monkeypox and its sensitivity and Specificity towards West Africans examines stress. “China is able to quickly identify imported cases of monkeypox” The latter insured.

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