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WHO calls for reduction in sex partners as monkeypox cases rise

MORE than 18,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported globally from 78 countries, with the majority in Europe, and 98 per cent of cases outside Africa have been reported in men who have sex with men, the World Health Organization has said.

The UN health agency declared monkeypox a global health emergency on Saturday, after more than 14,000 cases were reported across 71 Member States, from all six WHO regions.


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WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday urged men who have sex with men to consider reducing the numbers of new sex partners and swapping contact details with any new partners.

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“This is an outbreak that can be stopped. The best way to do that is to reduce the risk of exposure. That means making safe choices for yourself and others,” Tedros said during a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Six countries reported their first cases two weeks ago. While the trend in some countries has declined, others are increasing and countries with less access to diagnostics and vaccines make the outbreak harder to track and stem.

WHO said it is working closely with affected communities in all its regions and has called for increased, “targeted and focused” access to all counter measures for the most affected populations.




     

     

    Meanwhile, New York City has asked WHO to rename the monkeypox virus to avoid stigmatizing patients who might then hold off on seeking care.

    “We have a growing concern for the potentially devastating and stigmatizing effects that the messaging around the ‘monkeypox’ virus can have on already vulnerable communities,” New York City public health commissioner Ashwin Vasan, said in a letter to Tedros on Tuesday.

    “Continuing to use the term ‘monkeypox’ to describe the current outbreak may reignite these traumatic feelings of racism and stigma — particularly for Black people and other people of color, as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ communities,” he added.

    Eight persons had so far tested positive for monkeypox in Edo State, Southern Nigeria and according to the WHO, all five persons who have died from the current outbreak of the disease were in Africa.

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